“I always wonder how in the world (insert a name) gets so many offers and opportunities, like speaking at XYZ conference or getting an invitation for ABC. No one understands what he is selling. Frankly, when it comes to credentials, I am a lot more qualified… I network a lot, too! I just don’t understand what he does differently.”
Have you ever wondered about the same thing?
Then, you are in luck. This is NOT one of those articles you find online about networking & creating reciprocity. Here, I am going to share the secrets I found from successful entrepreneurs by closely observing what they practice (most of the time subconsciously).
The reason this post is different from other “how to identify & attract business opportunities” articles is I am going to touch on some facts that not many discuss publicly. You won’t find this on social media timelines. It’s because what I have here is the result of many “behind closed doors” conversations.
To be honest, as a revenue & growth strategist, I was a bit hesitant to even talk about this, as none of these are “strategies.” But at the end of this post, I will tie it all together.
And…there is more. As a little bonus, I am going to share one thing the entrepreneurs I observed would NOT do at the end of the post. This is going to help you assess whether you’ve been growing your business the right way or not.
Before diving in, let me define what “successful” means in this post since it’s a pretty broad & subjective term. Let’s start with what it’s not. Here, I don’t define successful entrepreneurs as simply those who generate a specific amount of revenue, i.e. 7 figures, 8 figures, etc. Rather, they satisfy these 3 things that are essential to be a confident and fulfilled entrepreneur:
1. Always generating leads (by being an opportunity magnet)
2. Taking care of themselves & their people (their team, family, vendors, friends & peers) to be happy
3. Having future-proof strategies
These are the only 3 jobs CEOs are responsible for. The ones I know who are doing great also have one more thing in common: they receive various business opportunities at all times. If you like the way I clarified the definition of “successful entrepreneurs,” you are in for a treat!
Now that that’s sorted, let’s unlock the secrets!
Secret #1: They've Found Their True North & That’s Their Niche.
When I talk about “finding your true north in your business,” I only mean finding a purpose that is aligned with your beliefs at that moment that is viable as a business for a few years.
The reason is we are all bound to evolve as entrepreneurs over time. Your true north will evolve, and that is perfectly fine. I’ve learned this from my own experience as well as from other entrepreneurs I interact with.
In case you are wondering why many others seem to figure out how to be an opportunity magnet, but you haven’t, the answer may be to dig deep with your why’s. You don’t need to do something that is going to save the entire planet. On the flip side, your why should not just be paying your bills.
If you think “they got it easy,” they didn’t.
From what I’ve seen, successful entrepreneurs have found a way to figure this piece out where they feel aligned with what they offer and truly excited to talk about it. For a peer of mine, it meant trying out different things over 16 months.
She was generating sales during that time, but something wasn’t quite clicking. It was incredibly hard for her to put her finger on it, but she never gave up. She continuously experimented with her offers in different markets. One thing she believed in her bones all along was, “My questions will be answered eventually.”
Did she get the answer she was looking for?
Yes. But it did not show up in her dreams. She did not get hit by a huge “aha” moment while she was driving. Instead, while she was taking a break from everything, she got up one day and started to write with no goal or plan in mind. 4 days later…, she had a book.
It turned out to be a manifesto-autobiography hybrid. No, it did not make the NY Times Bestseller List, but what it did was provide her with a clear path to what she was meant to do with her business. From there, I could see she became unstoppable. Everything starts to come her way flawlessly.
She found her true north and discovered a group of people who jive with what she stands for (a niche market).
Secret #2: They Are Raw & Own Every Bit of What They Do.
Because they are so driven by their core value and mission to help improve others’ lives, they do whatever it takes to get their voice heard. Surprisingly, they have no strategy, not much consistency, and no solid plan to go about it.
Since they don’t have a plan, some things work out well and some don’t.
But the difference between these successful entrepreneurs and the rest is that the successful ones are open to share their entire journey, including failed attempts. This creates a so-called “safe place” for people to know, like & trust them much faster. It’s such a relief to know that these people aren’t super-human.
Make no mistake though, they often talk about what they learned from those attempts and how they turned those challenges to their advantage. Just imagine if they only talked about their failed attempts with no solutions or information about what they did to get out of it…you aren’t going to look up to them, right?
Here’s another fact that sets them apart from the rest. Regardless of how often they fail, they show up.
They have told me of numerous occasions where only one person showed up to their live video; how long it took for them to even get 500 downloads per month for their podcasts; how their posts got no comments for ages.
They still showed up. They didn’t let any of this bother them.
By the way, I was intentional about not using the word “vulnerability,” as it has been thrown around too much online and often used in incorrectly. Being vulnerable and transparent doesn’t mean you need to break down and start crying on a livestream, but some take it that way.
Another reason I don’t like to use “vulnerability” to make this point is because I’ve witnessed some even get crafty & “curate” their vulnerability to where they pick & choose what they allow the world to see. Cute, I’d say. But it’s actually disgusting. These successful entrepreneurs I know would not do any of this.
For the record, I do have much respect for Brené Brown. I just chose not to use the word vulnerability to make my point here.
Now back to successful entrepreneurs. You’ll see them stumble over their words on videos. They even forget why they are even on it to begin with and end up talking about a different topic (yet magically it’s still somewhat related to what they are passionate about).
They don’t worry about how professional (or unprofessional) they look. They just can’t contain themselves when it comes to what their driven by.
Share | Connect | Grow
Secret #3: They Geek Out on What They Believe in.
You know how everyone says we all need to keep learning as entrepreneurs. No doubt we do. You know it & I know it.
Successful entrepreneurs naturally geek out over what they specialize in because of their pure thirst for wanting to know more. They don't need reminders. In other words, they live & breathe what they do. They are obsessed.
Because of this, they don’t get complacent or too comfortable where they are at.
By the way, they don’t stop there. They tend to have insatiable appetites for knowledge beyond their specialty by asking this question:
“How does that work in relation to what I am trying to achieve?”
Then, they immerse themselves in learning everything there is to know about the topic.
You might be rolling your eyes thinking, “What’s so special about this? Of course, we all do. I do that.”
But really? I am here to challenge you with this. When I host my Meetup events, I get to meet many beginner entrepreneurs and some seasoned ones. They ask a lot of questions that they could easily find answers to by doing a quick search online. Actually, I see many business owners ask pretty basic questions over social media, too.
First, I thought they did that as icebreaker to start a conversation. But then, when I’d ask them about what they are reading currently or if they ever listen to any business podcasts or if they have signed up for a free or paid course lately, their answer would usually be no.
They have all sorts of excuses when I recommend something like listening to audio books.
“I can’t multi-task.”
“I don’t like listening to things.”
“I don’t have time.”
This is what sets successful entrepreneurs apart from the rest. Because they have this drive to get to the bottom of what they want to know, they have no preference as to how they find their answers. For them, “whatever it takes.”
What does this have to do with becoming an opportunity magnet?
While they seek their answers, they end up meeting more people. Meeting more people = Creating more opportunities.
I want to make this very clear though, just because they are truly obsessed with what they believe in doesn’t mean that they sacrifice everything else. Remember the definition of “successful entrepreneurs” in the beginning of this post? Right. I am not here to suggest you need to slave away after your mission 24/7.
Secret #4: They Aren't Even Aware They Are Selling.
In their minds, they are just sharing what they feel compelled to share.
They don’t work for hours trying to figure out what their perfect “messaging” should be. While many are obsessing over making tweaks on their websites, deciding what their “brand color scheme” is, or worrying about whether they have enough credentials or not, these successful entrepreneurs are out there having conversations with people.
I can’t tell you how often I hear big earners tell me they didn’t even have their own website for the first year of their business. Never mind business cards… They are walking business cards.
“I was just… you know, letting people know what I was about and how I helped people through my business. Then some of them just asked me how they could work with me.”
Talk about simplicity…
Raise your hand if you are having a Mr. Magoo moment. I am.
No sales funnel. No onboarding processes. No paid ads.
But here is what I don’t want you to think. These successful entrepreneurs aren’t walking around with a megaphone screaming in people’s ears. This has nothing to do with being extroverted or introverted. If you are an introvert, you are an even better position.
It’s because these entrepreneurs are having genuine conversations with anyone who they come in contact with. They take their time talking about what they are compelled to do and how that can be related to others. For introverts, this can be done on a one-on-one basis just by setting up coffee dates.
You don’t need to convince or persuade people of anything. You can talk about why what you do truly lights you up. You can talk about how you helped your customers. As many introverts do, you can use numbers and data.
Most of all, you don’t need to be someone else. You do you.
Here is another important fact to note. Regardless of being an introvert or extrovert, they have one thing in common: they are not weird about presenting their offers. They are very neutral when they talk about their prices or talk about money in general.
Because they firmly believe in how they can solve people’s problems, their conversations about money are positive and flow naturally.
Secret #5: They Don't Follow Rules.
Successful entrepreneurs I’ve witnessed spend no time thinking about what they are supposed to do or what they should do. They do what they feel compelled to do. Notice this has been a recurring theme. They have a particular “drive” to push through, which is different from blindly “hustling.”
They choose “must” over “should.” Period.
This goes against everything that experts say about how to start a business the right way. Do you agree?
What is brilliant about this is that, especially in the beginning stage or the pivoting stage of your business, it gives so much room to validate your business ideas. With no paying customers or clients, it doesn’t matter how immaculate your 50-page business plan looks; there is no viable business.
“You did what?!”
I say that a lot when I am chatting with these entrepreneurs. Most of the time, I am simply blown away by them not having any type of plan or strategies. The “norm” in the business world often doesn’t apply to them.
Because they don’t follow predictable rules, they actually come across as fresh and sincere in people’s eyes. But for someone like me, a strategist, this is much harder to implement. If you are nodding your head right now because you are like me, then let me share my secret. It’s simple.
I just do the opposite of what’s considered as the norm.
So, whatever seems to be the “norm” in particular business activities, such as promoting an event or advertising on a digital platform, I purposely think of the complete opposite and see if this is aligned with what I want to achieve.
Not exactly instinctive, but it helps me think differently. It also helps me go with my gut more. By doing this, I’m naturally welcoming “serendipitous opportunities” into my business. This is how you get to be an opportunity magnet.
Secret #6: They Don't Care about Being Liked.
Let me be clear. It’s not that they don’t feel anything. They do. They are humans.
But the difference is that their drive and love for what they do overrides their fears of being judged or disappointment when they put themselves out there. What they do is beyond what they like to do for themselves. It is their purpose that drives them into action.
One day, I was having a conversation with an entrepreneur:
Entrepreneur: “I can’t tell you how many times some people literally commented by calling me names during my live videos. The worst was the one that starts with letter ‘c.’”
Me: “Wait…what?! You mean… c**t’?!!!”
Me: “Oh my God…”
Entrepreneur: “Yeah, but then someone who watched the same video reached out to me. She said she has a project she wants me on. We have a call tomorrow.”
Now, I can tell you whoever commented on her videos doesn’t have a call scheduled tomorrow. Trust me on this. So, who’s the winner here? You know the answer to that.
Another thing I noticed was the way these successful entrepreneurs describe themselves.
“What you see is what you get!”
They don’t worry about how they need to be perceived by others. What they all say is, “I can’t please everyone.”
You can find out more about this in my post, “Likeable vs. Relatable: Your Innate Desire to be Liked is Killing Your Business.”
Secret #7: They Are the Walking Results of What They Offer & Never Contradict Themselves.
They walk the walk, basically.
This is tricky because of social media. I don’t know about you, but I have been fooled a few times by glorious social media content on my feed before. In other words, “What you see wasn’t what you got” when I got to know them better.
It’s such a let down but more importantly, this is a major opportunity killer because I will be likely to avoid them. It’s just a fact.
For example, a typical one is when they are portraying themselves as financially successful on the outside. But in reality, they are struggling. Or, they offer high ticket items publicly (like on their websites), but they are making numerous exceptions to their pricing where they never generated revenue based on the prices on their sites.
No judgement. I have much love for them and their success. But these people are going about it all wrong.
Another one is they openly make suggestions to others, as if they have done it themselves and been successful. Once again, in reality, they have never tried it for themselves.
True story: Someone suggested I participate in a $15K-a-year course, saying “we should all invest in ourselves.” In the beginning, he sounded as if he had done it (as he never clarified yet definitely sounded as if he’d done it.) Then later, I found out from a random conversation with the same person that he never done it himself.
It’s not always about money. Here’s another example.
There are a plenty of people who talk about genuinely engaging with others over social media to nurture their tribes. But if you pay close attention to what they actually do, you only see them commenting on their own posts that got some comments by others. Some don’t even reply to comments they get for their own content they are putting out.
Now, successful entrepreneurs I talk about here don’t do that. They lift others up. They are very active in supporting others. They comment on other people’s posts with their genuine intention to help. They don’t just say, “Let me know if I can help.”
Funny, those who say, “Let me know if I can help” often don’t do anything proactively. This is THE opportunity for the rest of us. If you want to become an opportunity magnet, seek out ways to help others. If you ask me, “let me know if I can help” is the laziest comment anyone can make.
Secret #8: They Plant the Seeds & Completely Forget about Them.
Successful entrepreneurs are so busy helping people with their core values, they forget about the seeds they plant. In other words, they don’t do what they do with any expectations to get things in return.
This is why they look like a bunch of opportunity magnets. They do what they do with no expectations. They don’t sit around wondering if someone will ever get back to them. They just keep going.
Waiting for someone to return a favor is as bad as watching paint dry. Excruciating.
Actually, I have my own experience when it comes to totally forgetting about my outreach efforts. I have a simple spreadsheet to keep track of how I keep in touch with my network. It helps me streamline my process without giving too much thought on “how” to go about it so that I get to spend more time on how I reach out to them in a thoughtful manner.
But every now and then, I let a few of them escape. The funny thing about it is that those are the ones who pop up with opportunities when I have nothing going on. So, from the outside looking in, it looks like I have a stream of opportunities coming my way as if I work on it on daily basis. But I don’t.
This is not to say you don’t need to follow up with business contacts you reach out to. Professional follow-ups are important as a way to generate consistent revenue. What I am suggesting here is to put more energy behind your genuine intention to stay in touch rather than focusing on what you gain in return.
If you do this, you will start to notice how all the pieces fall into a place effortlessly.
Remember, opportunities don't want to be chased down by bloodshot-eyed people full of desperation. Think about this for a second. Do you want that? I would run the opposite direction!
Secret #9: They Find Joy in Others’ Success.
Successful entrepreneurs don't allow themselves any room for comparison. They are simply too busy with their business mission. Plus, they are content with what they do. So, compare & despair isn't on their agenda.
This doesn't mean they don't allocate their time to cheer for fellow entrepreneurs. When they do, they are genuinely happy for their peers' success.
I think this is a true test of whether you have what it takes to be an opportunity magnet.
I can easily sense when people are lying about others' success. I can feel deep down to the core, some of them are either displeased or anxious about them not being at where they should be, always comparing themselves to someone else. I can tell from their body language, subtle facial expressions, or things they say accidentally off the record, etc.
Mind you I'm not a psychic. But I pay very close attention to what other entrepreneurs are doing. How they behave, what they react to, and how they react to what they are exposed to.
From what I’ve observed, very, very few actually practice this genuinely & effectively.
I’ve found this to be an extremely intriguing and complex idea, so I’ll continue to dig deeper on this subject. (So, you will hear a lot about this in the future.)
The contrasting fact is that many say, “I would definitely be interested in supporting fellow entrepreneurs. It’s all about reciprocity, generosity, and abundant mindset.” But they don’t even know how to effectively support others, even when someone clearly lays out how they can support him or her to be an opportunity magnet.
Recently, I made a commitment to support someone’s launch without being an affiliate. This means I don’t get a cut for showing up.
This person was thoughtful enough (and strategically sound enough) to lay out step-by-step how we could show our support. There was a measurable goal this person wanted to hit, and it was made crystal clear as well. This person even offered a gift for those who gave their support.
Let’s just say the person was doing everything (almost) right. One thing that could have been better was to have a longer lead time to promote. That was it.
I liked this approach because everything was explained in such a clear manner. Since I made a commitment, I did more than I was asked to do, and I knew how to do that to be effective because I have been in this person’s shoes.
The measurable goal this person wanted to hit was a certain number of reviews to be posted. (Hint: It was a new podcast launch.) By the time I checked at the end of the day, the number was way, way lower than the target. It saddened me. This person must have reached out at least 100 or more people to participate, and the target number wasn’t outrageous either. It was doable.
So, there are 2 things going on here, and I am just going to come out and say it.
One is that, despite many saying they would support others, at the end of the day, they are struggling themselves and are too preoccupied with saving their own skin. The other is that, even if their intentions are genuine, most of them don’t know how to be truly valuable to others.
I know this is ugly. But I’m compelled to put this out there because no one wants to talk about it.
On the other hand, those who are successful are keenly aware of flopped launches, deals that fell apart, some campaigns that generated no results because they have been there. They know the pain and the impact of what these experiences do to their psyche.
This is why successful entrepreneurs find true joy in being generous to others with what they learned from their own experience. They create an energy that people want to be around.
You might think that energy has to be all positive, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be a quiet confidence. It can be a reliability. Or it could be a peaceful silence. Whatever it is, it makes people to want to be part of it. That is how opportunity magnets are made!
The Bonus Bit – What Successful Entrepreneurs Do Not Do
You might have noticed… There is a recurring theme throughout this post that may have given you a clue as to what it is.
Successful entrepreneurs don’t obsess over themselves. They are obsessed over the impact they create.
It doesn’t mean they are immune to their own limited beliefs. We are all exposed to our own set of limited beliefs. But what makes them different is that they are aware of their limited beliefs, and they know how to overcome them.
When they face doubts or fears, they refocus themselves on why they do what they do instead of coming up with reasons why they will stop from moving forward.
You probably heard someone say this once or twice, “An overnight success that’s 10 years in the making.” Don’t be scared, it doesn’t mean it takes 10 years of starvation and unpaid bills. But in reality, for some of those that you admire in business, it may have taken many years for them to get to where they are. The fact is that they never stopped.
Along the way, they found ways to be opportunity magnets.
Now, do you remember I mentioned I wasn’t feeling comfortable talking about this topic in the beginning of this post as a business strategist? As you noticed, what I shared here aren’t exactly strategies. The thing is, I love meeting these entrepreneurs who “get” what it takes to run a business. They have the right drive, motivation & curiosity to defeat all the odds.
As a revenue & growth strategist, the joy of what I do is to provide these successful entrepreneurs with the right mindset to shorten the time it takes to get to where they are heading. With the appropriate tools and resources, you don’t have to spend 16 months to find your true north that works for your business, for example.
Do you want to know more about how I can help? Be sure to sign up for my email list to be part of a great community of growth-driven entrepreneurs!