Introducing Gary Cardone, the CEO of a leading fraud mitigation, risk management and loss prevention service called Chargebacks911. Gary has an astounding track record: from helping turn a 10-20 employee enterprise into a Fortune 500 company to founding many other successful businesses, the entrepreneur has acquired a tremendous amount of hands-on experience. Read on and learn how Gary achieved success and what lessons he has to share.
Forget Motivational Posters – Fear is the Best Motivator
We’re all human, and we’re all subject to feel fear at one point or another. What separates most successful entrepreneurs from others is that they can identify their fears and use them to their advantage.
Gary Cardone is one of those people: “Fear of failure probably drives me more than anything else. It probably wouldn’t look great in a book but a lot of entrepreneurs I know just don’t want to fail.”
Continuing with advice for entrepreneurs, Gary also mentions how crucial it is to separate yourself from the reality you want to change and go all-in: “Great, successful people tend to burn their bridges behind them. Cut off their pathway to safety.”
Pick a Role and Stick to It
Gary also emphasizes the importance of choosing a role in any industry and focusing on that role, whether you want to be a thought leader, a copycat or simply ‘live off the margins’ for a couple of years: “I see too many people trying too many things. Just because there’s money there, [it] doesn’t mean you should chase it.”
According to the entrepreneur, “there isn’t a shortage of ideas, but there is a shortage of great executors.”
Naturally, there are only so many industries where one can execute well. And it’s not that you might lack the talent or ability to learn – adapting to different industries simply takes a lot of time and energy that makes effectively hustling between vaguely related businesses almost impossible.
I Took a Break and It Was a Mistake
After getting out of the energy business in 2002, Gary took 8 years off to enjoy time with his family. However, he considers taking a break a mistake since he was less stimulated during that time.
What fascinated me was the reason that made Gary jump back into the business world: “I didn’t want my children seeing it that I didn’t work and all I did was play golf and smoke cigars.”
The businessman remembered that when he was a kid, his dad used to take him to work and that “put a picture in his mind” about how the world works and what do people do when they grow up. Makes sense.
Different Industry, Same Problems
While Gary made a huge leap coming from the electricity and natural gas industries and jumping into the Internet game, he doesn’t consider growing Chargebacks911 to be that different from his previous endeavours. In his perspective, risk management is at the core of a financial fraud prevention service, and it’s definitely something he had to deal with in the energy industry.
Gary’s service essentially takes unnecessary risk and hassle off of his clients’ shoulders: “[The clients] got into business to sell products, not to process chargebacks.”
“We think that E-commerce is a tsunami”
When talking about the E-commerce industry, Gary compares its characteristics to that of a teenager: “Radical, irrational, up-and-down, changing roles, no rules, emotional – no emotion. That’s a teenager, right?”
Gary agrees with the popular opinion that major brick-and-mortar retail chains will have to “evolve or die” in the next couple of decades: “We think that probably half of S&P 500 retailers will probably die in less than 3 years. Look at Walmart – the largest retailer on the planet. It’s taken Amazon 5 years to completely displace Walmart [in the online space].”
However, he also noted that just like with any disruptive event, the increasing role of the Internet in the retail industry opens up a tremendous amount of opportunity for entrepreneurs: “The question must be ‘who loses and who wins?’”
“We’ve done a tremendous amount of vocal Connor McGregor”
I have to admit, when it comes to giving motivational advice, Gary’s is as honest as it gets.
Basically, what Gary does to keep himself motivated and productive is vocalizing that he and his partner are “the best” and then trying to live up to that image.
Sounds a bit crazy, but from a psychological perspective, I can see why it works. Just like with the fear of failure that we discussed earlier.
Here are a few of the questions from the podcast (both the questions and answers have been paraphrased/shortened):
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
All you have is your name and your credibility.
Advice to 20 y/o self?
Don’t spend four years going to college and surround yourself with people that are smarter than you. Get rid of all of the negative people.