How This Entrepreneur, at Age 32, Has Already Built a Thriving Restaurant and Entertainment Company

Image credit: Joliet TV | YouTube

One of the things I find deeply fascinating are the backstories of incredibly successful individuals. We know them for the accolades they receive for their success and for their public profiles. But when you dig a little deeper into those stories to find out makes them tick, you often discover a wealth of knowledge that will help guide you along your own journey.

You may initially label these people as “lucky” and wish that you too could attain their level of success, but it’s not just their success where you should be looking . . .

Instead, what all highly successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, athletes and all others at the top of their game possesses is an unwavering desire to be the best, master their craft, relentlessly fight until they get to where they want to go and never stop learning and getting better.

I recently had the great fortune to sit down with one of these individuals, Carmen Rossi. Rossi is an attorney and extraordinarily successful restaurant entrepreneur who’s relatively young, at age 32. He is the founder of the Chicago-based company, 8 Hospitality Group, a restaurant, hospitality-development and management company that has 900-plus employees. It specializes in food and beverage marketing, branding, promotions, public relations and operations.

8 Hospitality Group, Rossi told me, sees food and beverage as a lifestyle that is maintained through valuable experiences and mutually beneficial relationships with the community.

I spoke with him further about how he was able to achieve entrepreneurial success at such a rapid rate. An attorney by trade, he built one of the most dominant hospitality companies in Chicago — one that continues to expand and reach new heights. Here are four key things that Rossi attributed his success to, attributes that I think could greatly benefit others on the entrepreneurial and professional paths.

1. Move past the fear.

In my work as a keynote speaker and consultant working with some of the biggest brands in the world, I have concluded that one of the biggest reasons why so many organizations and individuals stay stagnant and never experience major breakthroughs is fear. When Rossi earned his law degree from Northern Illinois University and later discovered that he wanted to take a chance in the hospitality market, with no background in hospitality management or culinary arts, he was initially consumed with fear.

“The biggest thing for me in that moment was that I had to move past the fear. I was absolutely terrified, but I was willing to bet on myself, and it ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made,” Rossi told me.

One of the biggest pieces of advice that I ever received which has positively shaped my life is to “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Fear is a common emotion, but the best of the best fully understand that once they feel the fear, they don’t let it paralyze them from taking action and going after what they want.

What are you fearful of right now? Write down that fear and then take the time to put in your calendar what your next course of decisive action is going to be. As Rossi put it, “You can’t build anything of great value and achieve lasting success if you let fear be the driver of your life.”

2. Be “pro” community and government.

When I asked Rossi what he saw as separating him from everyone else, he mentioned his philosophy of being pro-community and government. “The hospitality industry is a great way to engage the community and make a positive difference in the local government,” Rossi said to me.

The takeaway here, he said, is how he decides on new concepts, how he’s always thinking about how he can actively engage the community and positively influence civic and social issues within that community. “You see a lot of entrepreneurs and businesses trying to find ways to shortchange the government,” he said, “but I have found that the more I can get involved and make a difference in the local government is where the real change and success lies.”

How has this philosophy paid off for Rossi? Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel appointed him as commissioner on landmarks while Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner selected him for a member of the Illinois Economic Development board. Even if you yourself have no desire to get involved in politics in any capacity, making a positive difference in your local community and being “pro-government” can catapult you to business success just like as it has for Rossi.

3. Be a “craftsman.”

The one specific mindset that has been a huge driving force in my success, first as a professional athlete, and now as an entrepreneur, is the mindset of a craftsman. By that, I mean becoming a lifelong learner of your craft, committing to never stop growing and relentlessly searching for ways to maximize your potential and get better at what it is you do.

Rossi said, “When I travel and go to other cities, I am constantly looking for ways to adopt new concepts and refine my approach and what my next move will be.” He continued, “I guess you can call it ‘obsessiveness,’ to a degree, but I think that all entrepreneurs need to have a healthy amount of obsession if they truly want to succeed in the long haul.”

One of the best decisions you can make that will take your performance and professional success to the next level is to commit to a never-ending development of yourself and your craft.

4. Don’t let crisis define you.

“I think a huge determining factor in whether someone has the guts to be a successful entrepreneur and win in business is to never give up the fight and break stride after you repeatedly get hit in the face and knocked down,” Rossi said to me.

Besides fear, I think that the inability to move past failure and keep standing when the going gets tough is what holds many back from living their absolute best life and tapping into their full potential.

It’s important to note that I am not talking just about adversity in business, but about life in general. Life will always throw you curveballs and unexpectedly take your breath away at times, but the one thing you control is how you respond. “I have had a great deal of struggles and adversity throughout my career, but one of the hardest things that I ever had to do was continue to move forward when I lost my mother unexpectedly. It crushed my entire world, but I knew that I couldn’t let this crisis define me or get in the way of my grand vision,” Rossi said.

Already, they’ve helped shape Carmen Rossi into the successful entrepreneur he is today, allowing him to build a thriving organization that is taking over the Chicago hospitality market.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

3 Ways to Remain Calm and Execute When Starting a Business

Image credit: Photo by Darryl Leniuk — Getty Images

Although it can certainly bring extraordinary excitement and fulfillment, there is nothing easy about starting a business. Launching a new business or even a new division within an existing business can be chaotic. There will be plenty of ups and downs, twists and turns, and wins and losses. Building a successful business has very much to do with how you respond when you get knocked down.

Below are three critical steps that can help you remain calm and execute your vision fully when the going gets tough.

1. Surround yourself with those who are already doing what you want to do.

When I first started writing and speaking, I knew absolutely nothing about how to go about turning it into an actual business. The first thing that I did was email and reach out to those who were already doing it, asking them how I might be able to help with whatever their most important project was. Some would respond and some wouldn’t, but every single day I put in the effort. I offered value in whatever way I could in the beginning, and over time, that transpired into a solid mentoring relationship. When you really care about what it is you do and eager to learn more, you would be surprised at how many highly successful people want to help.

2. Be obsessed with your vision.

Creating a blueprint of possibilities is the new “business plan.” No great entrepreneur has succeeded without developing an obsessive mentality surrounding the value of their product or overall vision of what they wanted to do. Coupling a steadfast dedication to your vision and value with an attitude of adaptability helps business owners and entrepreneurs to gain unbelievable momentum. And Big Mo as I like to call it—momentum—equals success.

3. Learn to love failure.

Failure yields opportunity. Entrepreneurs fail because when obstacles hit, they surrender to the negativity and attach their identity to this feeling of frustration. That’s not productive. All great entrepreneurs accept roadblocks as incredible opportunities to pinpoint areas of growth and get better. By learning to detach from the negativity and dig into the reasons these obstacles have arisen, entrepreneurs can narrow in on the aspects of their business that require extra attention or adaptability. Behind every failure and setback is a fundamental key to your business growth.

Originally Posted on Fortune.com

4 Ways Documenting the Journey Has Become More Popular Than Celebrating the Outcome

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LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman is popularly quoted as saying that an entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down.

While this is a bit of an exaggerative description, it accurately captures the common experience that all entrepreneurs share — their journeys as they build something from nothing.

Not all entrepreneurs can relate to high-profile exits, initial public offerings and the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine. Being an entrepreneur is an extremely personal experience that permeates all aspects of life. The ups and downs, highs and lows, successes and failures are all parts of this experience and are what bond entrepreneurs together.

Whether you are an entrepreneur who has taken multiple companies to successful and profitable exits or a first-time founder grinding away through late nights, you all share this journey in common.

And while media tends to highlight the huge successes and massive failures, I often wonder why they miss out on covering the thousands of entrepreneurs who are hustling and living out their journey on a day-to-day basis.

Interestingly enough, within the past month, I came across two online publications that were recently featured on Entrepreneur.com for theirInstagram Accounts — HDFMAGAZINE and PRSUIT

While the lineup of all seven accounts is quite impressive, these two brands clearly had an interesting angle.

HDFMAGAZINE (Hustle & Deal Flow), founded by Matt Gottesman, documents the journeys of entrepreneurs (which they call “creators”) from around the world as they’re building their company. In essence, they feature the “hustle” and not the end results of success that many media outlets tend to do.

PRSUIT, founded by Case Kenny, has created an impressive content platform providing “perspective that inspires”. That is, they feature over 400 writers from around the world who are writing about their journeys to success.

I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with the both of them, and in doing so I recognized four key trends about the entrepreneurial journey as inspired by two guys who are personally documenting it.

1. Entrepreneurship is all about the work you put in.

Ask any entrepreneur about his or her journey, and work ethic will surely come up fast. It doesn’t matter where you are on your entrepreneurial journey, consistently and effectively putting in the necessary work is something that all creators and founders can relate to.

Late-night hours, early-morning meetings and weekends are part of this hustle — and is something that unites entrepreneurs.

PRSUIT founder Case Kenny says that “entrepreneurs we interact with pay no attention to the hours they are working. They simply put in the work necessary to progress their visions. When you are chasing your passion, the hours mean nothing  — because you are truly enjoying your journey and know that your time will ultimately pay off.”

2. The journey is something that unites all of us entrepreneurs.

Because we can’t all relate to regular nine-to-five jobs, societal norms or working in environments that suppress our creativity, entrepreneurs do not want to feel alone. We’d rather gravitate towards each other in order to feel our version of “normal,” which is quite the opposite to the general public.

What ends up happening is pure collaboration. We not only support each other, but we share our resources, promote our ventures and introduce our networks.

In essence, we’re not concerned with the end result but the road ahead of us, and we do so by helping each other grow through it.

“Taking a leap of faith takes courage,” says Matt Gottesman. “You don’t know the outcome, and most people are not willing to take that leap. What creeps in are all those negative inputs from others who are not willing to do what you are. So, the next best thing is to associate yourself with people who are — and they will grow you just as you grow them.”

3. The lessons are in the details.

You will never know how to successfully manage a company unless you experience and embrace the finer details of running it. And you can’t do that without fully immersing yourself in the details.

Ask any entrepreneur how they have learned the skills and know-how they now possess, and they will tell you that they learned from doing. Trial and error. Success and failure. That is how you learn.

You learn the skills necessary from the ground level, not just from reading books and studying the craft. Entrepreneurs know this and embrace the experience.

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” Kenny says. “Entrepreneurs check their egos at the door and acknowledge that they don’t know everything. What they do know, however, is that if they try and dive in headfirst, they will find out. Entrepreneurs need to be fearless in their pursuit of experiences that will progress their visions. The only way to know what you don’t know is to try.”

4. The journey is what makes you great.

When media looks at the successes of most entrepreneurs, they’re looking at the end product. The fact is, what made that end product or outcome was a culmination of sleepless nights, daily sacrifices, countless adjustments and numerous character-building obstacles.

A successful person, whether it be an athlete, entrepreneur, actor or business person, is created during all the finer details from the lessons mentioned above. That is why you see the person standing before you. The journey was through the training in order to become great.

Where do we go from here?

With the rise of social media and Internet platforms that allow us to document our endeavors in real time, it would be most appropriate to say we’re heading into a newer storytelling generation of creativity and entrepreneurship.

I, too, find comfort in outlining the day-to-day details in my Instagram and SnapChat accounts (@matt-mayberry). I want people to see the actual work as it’s happening and not think of me as only an end result. It’s about demonstrating the work — and not glorifying my successes.

I believe the more you can document the hustle, the more you can impact others who are watching. That’s how I see serving my purpose.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Dare Great in Order to Be Great

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I gave a keynote a few weeks ago at an Entrepreneurship conference, and when I opened up for Q&A, I received a question that had me thinking long and hard. The question was, “How do you become an entrepreneur if you hate to take risks?”

My answer was short and simple. I said, “I’m sorry ma’am but it’s not possible.” I didn’t want to sound rude or negative. I had just finished motivating and inspiring a crowd of 600 people on how absolutely nothing is impossible, yet just answered a question saying the exact opposite.

There was just no other way to put it. Not only do you need to take risks as an entrepreneur, but you must absolutely get comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to be great.

How many people do you know personally who have missed opportunities because they were too scared to move past their comfort zone and away from their safety net? I bet you can come up with a few without even thinking long and hard about it. Heck, you may even start to look at your own life and realize how many incredible opportunities were left to die, simply because you never acted and decided to take a risk.

Please understand me on this. I am not telling you to be irresponsible or to run blindly into the abyss of extreme risk without thinking it through and weighing the pros and cons. What I am telling you however, is that after you have done all of that — just get going! Not only do most people not take risks, but they over think and talk themselves out of it when they’re on the verge of moving forward.

A quote that I have lived by when it comes to taking risks and stepping out of my comfort zone is this one by Abraham Maslow, “You will either step forward into growth or step back into safety.” I absolutely love those words and find it to be a question that we should ask ourselves every single day of our lives.

We are either moving forward and growing or stepping backwards to what we are comfortable with. The only possible way that we can become all that we are destined to be in life and in business is to get uncomfortable and take risks. In everything that we do, the decision is up to us. Are we going to play it safe, or take risks to go after what it is we want?

Not only are great entrepreneurs risk-takers, but any man or woman who has left their place in history and done anything of significance during their time here on earth is. You simply can’t be great by staying in your comfort zone just because it feels good. Staying in your comfort zone and not living a courageous and daring life may feel good at the moment, but over time it will turn into regret and a life filled with “What if’s.”

I encourage you to take a long and close look at how courageously you have been living. Where do you stand? We all could benefit from making the decision to step away from our comfort zone more often. It turns out that the popular saying, “Better to be safe than sorry,” isn’t always applicable. Instead, let the words “Dare great in order to be great” guide your life from here on out.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

3 Reasons Why Entrepreneurship Is the Greatest

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Entrepreneurship is great for many reasons. Personally, it has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. Not only do I get to operate my own business and make an impact in so many different organizations, but I also get the opportunity to hear other entrepreneurs share their journeys and experiences.

Some of the biggest difference-makers to ever live were entrepreneurs. They were creators and self-starters who found a desperate need in the world and came up with a solution to ultimately make the world a better place. Here are three reasons why entrepreneurship is the greatest:

1. There is no ceiling as to what you can do.

There is absolutely no ceiling as to what you can do when you choose to be an entrepreneur. The only person in charge of you is yourself, and that includes your level of achievement and the difference that you make in your industry.

In a company and corporate setting, everyone has job descriptions and has to report to someone. When you make the daring adventure to go out for yourself, you don’t report to anyone but the person looking back in the mirror. In a company and corporate setting, creativity sometimes can be locked down, which can be very frustrating.

Entrepreneurship and changing the world requires extreme creativity at all times. There is nothing in the way as to what ideas you can get working on and how you go about your everyday business. You get to experience the wonderful feeling of being free and most important, yourself.

2. You can make a greater impact.

You can make a difference wherever you are with however much or little you think you have, regardless if you are an entrepreneur or not. As an entrepreneur though, your ability to change the world and create a movement to make the world a better place is extraordinary. A trait of all majorly successful entrepreneurs is creating something that was once missing in the world.

This isn’t to say that everyone who walks down the path of entrepreneurship is going to become the next Albert Einstein or Mark Cuban, but an example of what could happen is your small business has the potential to fill a major void in your local community.

You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to make a difference in others or in the world, but entrepreneurship does give you the opportunity to make a greater impact if you find what’s missing and create something to fill that void.

3. Dreaming is at the focal point.

The focal point of entrepreneurship is dreaming. Without dreams and hopes for the future there is nothing. I have witnessed thousands of men and women who gave up due to the hustle of bustle of life and will unfortunately die without those dreams and hopes realized.

As kids we all have dreams and things we want to do when we get older, but somewhere down the line when we reach adulthood, we start to lose sight of our kid-like ability to dream. Entrepreneurship rekindles that soft spot in your heart and gives you that same feeling as when you were a kid.

If you’re not innovating, dreaming and constantly looking to expand who you are and what you’re doing, it will be difficult to win in the long game in the world of entrepreneurship. Instead of carrying out someone else’s dream, the entrepreneur builds a team around them to carry out his or her vision.

There is nothing easy about entrepreneurship. There will be plenty of challenges along one’s journey, and those challenges never get any easier even as you become more successful.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

 

The 3 Reasons Most People Fall Short at Entrepreneurship

Being a former professional athlete, one of the hardest things I have ever had to do didn’t involve blocking, tackling or going through the dreadful dog days of training camp. It was becoming a successful entrepreneur.

That might come as a shock, as you would expect having a 300-hundred-pound, angry, big and very agile offensive lineman trying to take your head off every single play would be difficult on you. Of course, football, and most sports for that matter, weed out the weak, undetermined and those who have no discipline at all. However, in my eyes, entrepreneurship is the true test of mental strength, guts and courage.

A great majority of entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners fail. We have been hearing that for a while now, and if it isn’t some news source or latest research telling us how hard it is to make it in entrepreneurship — family members and friends are sure to give you their input on how you are out of your mind for even contemplating bringing an idea of yours into the marketplace.

Why is it that most entrepreneurs fall short, or even worse, never even get off the ground? I had the wonderful privilege to chat with entrepreneur, New York Times-bestselling author and mega hustler Gary Vaynerchuk this week to find out what you can do to not fall into the very crowded space of wannapreneurs.

Here are three reasons as to why most entrepreneurs fall short.

1. No faking it

As Vaynerchuk says, “So many want to be experts in a field they never learned, experienced or mastered themselves.”

One of the worst things you can do is enter a space you know absolutely nothing about. Vaynerchuk was in the wine business and learned, studied and practiced what he preached long before he ever claimed to be an expert.

What’s something you’re really great at and actually know a lot about? Play to your strengths, not your weaknesses.

2. Work ethic

This is one of my favorite topics because I have the same point of view as Vaynerchuk on this point. Maybe it’s being a former athlete that has something to do with it, but I truly love the dog days, the work, the hustle. Whether you follow Vaynerchuk on Twitter, Facebook or watch the value-packed GaryVee show, you will know that Vaynerchuk is a major hustler and preaches the importance of having a ridiculous work ethic.

“Way too many people aren’t putting in the hours but want the results as if they’re working 18-hour days for 10 years straight,” Vaynerchuk says. “The fact of the matter is this: Way too many people aren’t reaching their biggest goals in life because they lack in hustle.”

3. Watch the puck

Wherever I go and speak, I always talk about the importance of having a vision and taking the time to get really serious about your legacy.

“There needs to be an aggressive need for anticipation to where things are going,” Vaynerchuk says.

It’s also important to understand that where you are now has absolutely nothing to do with where you can be five, 10 and 15 years from now. Having a long-term vision is what’s going to help you overcome some of the hardship and tragedies that you definitely will eventually experience as an entrepreneur.

Whether you love or hate him, Vaynerchuk is an incredibly successful entrepreneur who we all can learn something from. He understands what it truly takes to dominate the marketplace and take your business to the next level.

I hope you don’t let these three reasons be why you don’t succeed as an entrepreneur. You have what it takes. Be a master of your craft, work ridiculously hard and get serious about where you want to take your business 10, 20 and 30 years from now.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Five Ways to Change the Odds

5 ways to change the odds

I love America. Where else can someone come from absolutely nothing and go on to create an extraordinary life?

When the odds are stacked against you, it’s so easy to become the statistic everyone expects from you. How does one escape their bleak fate and go on to achieve noteworthy success? How do men and women with very little resources, horrific backgrounds and less-than-promising circumstances end up making history and reaching world-class levels in their line of work?

They each committed to changing their odds. Here are five ways you can, too.

1. Relentless work ethic. 

Countless men and women have overcome obstacles to create everlasting masterpieces. Their key to success is a relentless work ethic. Be willing to outwork the others. Arrive earlier, stay later, do more than is expected of you. Strive to be the best in your field. Take pride in yourself and your work.

2. Unbreakable self-belief.

Life can be tough. Don’t wear the labels people will try to give you. Albert Einstein was once labeled “mentally handicapped” for not speaking until the age of four. His name is now synonymous with “genius.” Shed the limitations and develop expectations for yourself. Begin by seeing yourself as a valuable member of society. Become that. Believe with obstinate conviction that your future is bigger than where you are and where you were.

3. Keep knocking. 

Thomas Edison, one of the greatest inventors of all time, took 1,000 attempts to make a light bulb that worked. Where would we be if Edison had given up after the 900th time? When asked, Edison said, “I have not failed 999 times, I have simply found 999 ways how not to create the light bulb.” Keep knocking, keep persisting, no matter how long it takes you.

4. Seek positive role models.

Study great men and women who have already reached their pinnacle of success. The vast majority overcame substantial odds.

Your role model can simply be a person of character you want to strive to become. Whether it be the discipline of your mother, work ethic of your father, or a marriage like your grandparents, seek these individuals out. Ask lots of questions and take notes. Try making a list of five people who can be a positive role model in your life and find a way to get in touch with them. You just might be surprised at the response you receive.

5. Create opportunity.

Changing the odds begins by taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way and creating opportunities when there seemingly isn’t one.

One of the core reasons why many miss golden opportunities is because they are thinking in terms of instant gratification. They aren’t willing to lay the groundwork for opportunities to bloom down the road. Laying a firm foundation will allow opportunity to sprout in the future.

Understand that opportunities aren’t always going to come your way. People who wait for the door of opportunity to swing wide open so they can waltz through will likely be waiting a lifetime. Sometimes you have to walk right up to that locked door, size it up and begin breaking it down.

The odds will run your life unless you decide that you are the captain of your ship. What you do when confronted with challenge, the attitude you choose, will dictate your outcome. Focus on your destiny with all into your passion and you will end up at the right destination.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

What the NFL Taught Me About Being a Motivated Entrepreneur

Let’s face it, entrepreneurs and business owners deal with more stress, challenges and setbacks than most. As the going gets hard, motivation levels tend to decrease drastically.

The experience and amount of hardships that come along with entrepreneurship is a lot like a roller coaster. Things start off slow, then, in a blink of an eye rapidly shoot out the gate, offering up plenty of twists and turns along the way. Hopefully, at the end of the ride your arms are high in the air in complete satisfaction.

That said, those twist and turns are trying times where pressure and frustration may have you second guessing what exactly it is you got yourself into. That’s why it’s very important we take control of our emotions and find ways to fire ourselves up.

As a former professional athlete, I had to constantly program my mind and motivate myself even in the midst of some of the most difficult times in my life. These are the exact same strategies I have been implementing into my everyday life for the past ten years which have helped me achieve some audacious goals as an entrepreneur.

Here is what I have learned along the way about staying motivated all day long.

Carry a ‘trigger card’ around with you everywhere you go.

I call it a “trigger” card because one glance at this notecard should have you fired up and ready to take things to the next level immediately. It consists of writing your two most important goals on a notecard in the present tense as if you already accomplished them. On the flip side of the card, pick two to three quotes that really move and inspire you. Whenever you are feeling down or unmotivated, pull your trigger card out and read it over a few times.

Talk to yourself like a champion.

Thinking positive and empowering thoughts is one thing but talking to yourself like a champion, reconditions your thought process in an instant. With power and conviction, repeat phrases such as, “I am the greatest at what I do,” “There is nothing that I can’t do when I fully commit myself,” and “There is nothing ordinary about me. I am a champion.”

Rewrite your goals at some point throughout the day.

It is important to pick a time (or two) during the day to rewrite your goals. From my experience, I have observed that a majority of people have goals wandering around in their head, yet, only a small percentage have clear, written out goals and an even smaller percentage rewrite their goals daily. Throughout our hectic day we become very susceptible to fall off track and forget about what we are striving towards. This alone can take motivation levels to the next level throughout the work day.

Search for ways to grow and invest in your personal development.

This is a complete game changer. Constantly feed your mind with material that will uplift your spirit and help you grow in your line of work. Try turning off the music and indulging in a good audio book during your commute to work. Read for 10 to 15 minutes on your lunch break. Reach out to a friend or mentor who always seems to leave you in a more positive and motivated place.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com