Exclusive Interview with Rich Dad’s Robert Kiyosaki
Recently, I met Robert Kiyosaki, and he agreed to offer his advice to the StartupNation audience. Robert is the author of The New York Times, international bestselling book, “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” with 26 books in the Rich Dad series. As an investor, entrepreneur and educator with unconventional perspectives on money and investing, he has “changed the way tens of millions, around the world, think about money.”
Here’s a brief bio on Robert from his site at www.richdad.com: “Born and raised in Hawaii, Robert Kiyosaki is a fourth-generation Japanese-American. After graduating from college in New York, Robert joined the Marine Corps and served in Vietnam as an officer and helicopter gunship pilot. Following the war, Robert went to work in sales for Xerox Corporation and, in 1977, started a company that brought the first nylon and Velcro ‘surfer wallets’ to market. He founded an international education company in 1985 that taught business and investing to tens of thousands of students throughout the world. In 1994 Robert sold his business and, through his investments, was able to retire at the age of 47. During his short-lived retirement he wrote Rich Dad Poor Dad.”
And here’s what Robert had to say:
What do you think is your secret to success?
Well, first of all, this is not a job for me. It’s not about the money. It’s about the mission. As a business owner, as an entrepreneur, without the mission which is the heart, mind sole, message, culture, I don’t think you have the strength to overcome the highs and the lows of being an entrepreneur. So the mission, which is spiritual, is what drives me on.
How did you form your mission?
It’s a process. I just got clearer on what my life was about and why I was put here on Earth. Was it just to make money? You know, I couldn’t go into the tobacco business, because I don’t believe in smoking. I couldn’t go into the liquor business because I don’t believe in drinking.
So then for me, when I really got clear on my message, is the story of my rich Dad and my poor Dad, a Ph.D. who just broke because he didn’t have any money. Well why don’t our schools teach us about money? A mission is very much a love hate anger and sadness. I really hate it when I see someone struggling financially. It drives me crazy. And I never did well in school. I hated school. So for me, [my mission] is to be in financial education because it’s important to me.
You say that you don’t need money to make money. What tips do you have for small business owners who are trying to keep their businesses afloat in today’s economy?
Well, you have to understand where money comes from. I wrote a book called, “Before you Quit Your Job,” and in there, I have a thing called the BI triangle. And “BI” stands for Business Owner and Investor. A business has eight moving parts, and people struggle because one or more of the eight moving parts is not there. A business cannot run unless it has all the parts working in a synchronistical way. Once you get the eight moving parts running, it smokes.
How do you suggest people find which part of their business is not working and to fix it?
Well, I would buy that book, or pick it up at the library, “Before you Quit Your Job”. Now if you don’t want to read the book, that’s up to you, but you will sit there in the blind and wonder why you’re in trouble.
Do you think it’s a good time to pursue a business?
It’s always a good time. It has nothing to do with good time or bad times. I’m making more money today than when the economy was good. Everyone is cutting back on marketing, PR and advertising. Right now, I’m spending more than ever before on marketing, PR and advertising because that’s how you gain market share. I’m getting more business because the weaker guys have fallen out of business.
What do you suggest if a small business owner doesn’t have the funds for marketing and promotion?
Then they shouldn’t be in business…period. Look. The number one skill of an entrepreneur is to raise capital. Period. All I’m doing all day long is raising money. If you can’t raise money, then you should be an entrepreneur. I’m constantly raising money and selling something.
What did you learn from your failures in starting and running a business?
The biggest lesson I learned is that I’m going to make mistakes constantly, and I’ve got to learn how to learn from my mistakes. A mistake is there for you, or God’s way, or whoever’s way, of saying to you that you don’t know all the answers. Learn from this mistake. The people who fail are people who don’t make mistakes or people who don’t learn from their mistakes.
What is the biggest lesson you learned from your Rich Dad?
Be an entrepreneur. I learned two things. I learned how to make money. I learned how to keep my money. So during this economic crash, I’m making more money than ever before because I approach investing and my own personal businesses as an entrepreneur.
You look at the people who are losing money today in the stock market. Most of them have no idea about the stock market, and they turned their money over to a mutual fund guy who has no consequences if he loses your money. He gets paid whether you make money or not. Now, how stupid can you be? I just don’t understand it….That is absolutely a recipe for disaster.
It’s the same as being an entrepreneur. I’m constantly in school. I’m constantly studying. I’m reading books on entrepreneurship. My study never stops.
Now, Robert has a lot more to share. Check back on Thursday to read his great advice for new entrepreneurs and investors…
In the meantime, if you need help with your PR and copywriting, just let me know here or at www.rembrandtwrites.com. Thanks!