Tony Robbins is so much more than the fast-talking life coach with the TV infomercials. He is credited with helping some of the world's most powerful, wealthy, and successful people--from billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones to the late anti-apartheid crusader Nelson Mandela to Salesforce.com founder and CEO Marc Benioff.
Even Bill Clinton leaned on Robbins's advice during the former president's impeachment proceedings. Some of Robbins's best lessons from his long career as a life coach to the rich and powerful were captured in an interview with Inc. editor-in-chief Eric Schurenberg.
After the Great Recession, Robbins says he saw people lose their homes, their businesses, and just about everything they had worked for their whole lives. America is still hurting from the 2008 crash, but Robbins says you can be successful.
Below is Robbins's most important advice for entrepreneurs.
Set up a one-employee side business.
The first step in being financially successful is knowing you can be, he says.
"You need to understand the game is still winnable," Robbins tells Inc. You don't have to be Paul Tudor Jones to make money, just start putting your money to work now.
"Set up a financial business on the side with no employees, it'll be an extraordinary nest egg that could bring you income for life," he says. Robbins says you should not wait until you have a pile of cash, get started with what you have.
"To be a great investor, you need to make good decisions without perfect knowledge. The first step is not to wait until you have a huge sum of money. The illusion is that when you have more money, you'll invest and it'll be more worth while," Robbins says. "The most important thing to do is start investing now, so you can unlock the power of compounding."
Robbins recounts the story of a UPS employee who never made more than $14,000 a year, but retired with a $70 million fortune "without inheriting a dime." Theodore Johnson's friend told him he was going to take 20 percent of his salary off every paycheck and invest it. To make due without that money, Johnson's friend told him to treat it like a 20 percent tax that Uncle Sam took out of every paycheck. Over the years, compound interest and good investments helped build a $70 million fortune.
"You don't earn your way to a fortune, you invest your way, you compound it," Robbins says.
Add value, and help those around you.
Robbins wants you to dream big, get inspired, and live a life of wild success, but in order to get there, you have to accomplish smaller things and build up. Long-term, sustainably wealthy entrepreneurs didn't wake up in a room of cash, they set out to add value and help people.
"You can get rich by screwing someone, but if you're going to stay rich, you have to be constantly helping people," he says. When Robbins's first child was born, he was only making $38,000 a year. By the next year, he was making $1 million a year. "That jump wasn't a sudden new skill set, it was a must for me psychologically to produce that wealth," he says.
Robbins's mentor, the entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn, gave him two lessons on how to tap your strongest talents and resources to be successful:
"Find your passion and find a way to use it to do more for others than anyone else does and add value. And proximity is power. If you want to get the job done, you have to get in the environment of the best of the best," Robbins recalls Rohn saying.
When Robbins told Rohn he needed to provide for his family, Rohn said for the goals he had, he needed to be in the proximity of the best moneymakers. Robbins wanted to acquire more wealth, so he started hanging out with investment bankers. "I did that for a couple of years, but it seemingly produced no business results. Until one day, one of those relationships grew into a deal that made me $400 million in a day, we took a company public," he says. "I could've worked my entire lifetime and not made that happen, I had to be in proximity with the best."
No one grows personally and professionally by themselves, everyone needs help. If you want to do a certain thing--make money, build a company, help feed the hungry--then you need to be around people who do that well.
"My own growth has always been about challenging myself to be around people who play the game of life at a higher level. In order to stay on the court with them, you need to lift your game, you need to grow," he says. "If you're around them and you're adding value, you'll find opportunity. Proximity is power."
Always be hungry.
As the coach for billionaire entrepreneurs Marc Benioff and Richard Branson, Robbins knows the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people. He says the single most important ingredient for success is hunger and not losing it.
"The best entrepreneurs on earth never lose that hunger--they are hungry to grow, hungry to give, hungry to contribute," Robbins says. "It's more important than intelligence. There's nothing that will stop a person who is hungry enough. A hungry person, failure doesn't stop them."
Learn more from Tony Robbins below.