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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

50 at 50: My Secrets to Success

Written By: Rich Gallagher | Comments Off on 50 at 50: My Secrets to Success

50 at 50 celebrationThis is my 50th blog for my good friend (and literary partner-in-crime) Carol Roth. To celebrate, I am going to share with you 50 principles that I honestly feel are my own secrets to success, many of which are distilled from my four-plus years of blogging for Carol.

Too bad I couldn’t time this for my 50th birthday – I’m 61 now. But I’ll take two out of three.

Here we go:

  1. Build great relationships, for their own sake. A surprising amount of my business comes from people whom I never planned – or cared – to make money from. We just like and trust each other.
  2. Don’t sell – find ways to benefit people.
  3. Pick markets that mere mortals like you are already succeeding in.
  4. Become the expert at whatever you do.
  5. Don’t just do a good job for a new client – completely blow them away. Then keep doing it.
  6. Thank everyone for everything.
  7. Love your competitors.
  8. Being self-employed is sober and rational. Having one job that can get whacked at any time is risky and crazy.
  9. Happily offer and pay finder’s fees.
  10. Keep building great relationships.
  11. Don’t “feel the fear and do it anyway.” Fear is usually trying to tell you something.
  12. Have as few rules for customers as possible.
  13. You will never become great at something unless you are willing to be crappy at it at first.
  14. Learn how to really hear and acknowledge people.
  15. Always speak in terms of what you can do.
  16. Writing for publication is one of the best marketing skills you can learn. And few things will build your solo business like a successful royalty-published book.
  17. Lose gracefully and always leave the door open.
  18. Don’t ever be a prima donna.
  19. Learn how to apologize and take ownership.
  20. Don’t forget to build great relationships.
  21. Your credibility is much more important than your pitch.
  22. Slow-pay clients (not deadbeats, but the over-bureaucratic) are awesome. Really. If you have the cash flow to deal with them, you can take on a lot of lucrative work that others can’t.
  23. Give away your very best information.
  24. Have a great one-sentence brand.
  25. Forget about fines and penalties. They aren’t worth what they cost your customer relationships.
  26. Ask people good questions.
  27. Welcome everyone like your long-lost best friend.
  28. Link your experiences to other people’s stories.
  29. Do lots of networking – and don’t confuse it with prospecting.
  30. Remember to build great relationships.
  31. Get and keep at least six months of living expenses in the bank.
  32. Never act hungry for business.
  33. Don’t compete on price.
  34. Fire high-maintenance clients.
  35. You don’t have to do just one thing for a living.
  36. Treat yourself as well as you treat your customers.
  37. Cut people a break whenever you can.
  38. Invest in learning your craft from the best.
  39. Don’t just work harder, find what motivates you.
  40. Continue building great relationships.
  41. Become a student of human behavior and communications skills.
  42. Look out for the interests of your suppliers and employees.
  43. Don’t scrimp on health insurance.
  44. Learn what is important to your clients and cheer it on.
  45. Have a low-cost entry point for your services, if possible. Make it easy for people to discover how awesome you are.
  46. Being effective is much more important than being right.
  47. Treat everyone’s position as that of a totally reasonable person. Even if it isn’t.
  48. Never try to “educate” customers about how wrong they are.
  49. Be you.
  50. Did I mention building great relationships?

To sum up four great years of both blogging and real life in one sentence: if you are kind, connect well with others, make things easy for everyone, don’t push, and become really, really good at what you do (and there is a market for it), I honestly believe you will succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

Here’s to many more blog posts for Carol in the future!

Article written by
Rich Gallagher is a former customer service executive and practicing therapist who heads the Point of Contact Group. His books include two #1 customer service bestsellers, “What to Say to a Porcupine” and ”The Customer Service Survival Kit: What to Say to Defuse Your Worst Customer Situations,” both released by AMACOM. He has taught over 30,000 people what to say in their worst customer and workplace situations.