Money Isn't a Core Value: Evan Carmichael on Building Startups That Matter

Money Isn't a Core Value: Evan Carmichael on Building Startups That Matter
From Recruiter - March 3, 2017

Entrepreneur, speaker, and author Evan Carmichaelmight be a well-known business expert today, but his initial foray into the startup world wasnt an immediate success. When Carmichael and two of his friends started a biotech software company at thetender age of 19, they didnt rocket to success right away.

We sucked at the start, Carmichael says. We were making $300 a month.

But Carmichael and his friends stuck with it. They turned down jobs. They didnt want to walk away and end up regretting it.

Sure enough, they turned it around and sold the company by the time Carmichael was 22. Selling a business at such a young age thrust Carmichael into the spotlight. He became a venture capitalist, helping other companies raise money they needed to grow. He was invited to speak at numerous engagement. A lot of eyes were trained on him.

Carmichael decided to start a website where he could share advice with entrepreneurs. Then, he started a YouTube channel, which has since gone on to become the largest YouTube channel for entrepreneurs.

Things were going great for Carmichaelbut he still had the nagging feeling that he could do more.

I wasnt down on my luck or anything, he says. But I felt like I had potential. I was walking through my life thinking I could do a lot more.

Initially, Carmichael decided he should focus on improving his marketing, but he quickly realized it wasnt his marketing strategy that was holding him back from his true potential. Rather,Carmichael realized he need to gainmore insight into what he truly valued. That would show him the way toward fulfillment.

At first, I approached it as a marketing thing: I need my tagline to be better; I need to explain what I do to more people, he says. But that evolved into, I need a tagline for my life to figure out what Im all about. I need theself-awareness to understand what my core values are so I canlive a life and build a business around them.

This is when Carmichael came up with the idea for the One Word, which forms the basis of hisbook,Your One Word: The Powerful Secret to Creating a Business and Life That Matter.

I believe everyone has one core value that represents who they are at a deep level, Carmichael says. The more you realize thatthe more you build a life around it and, for entrepreneurs, build a business around itthe more success youll have from a financial perspective, as well as the fulfillment of doing something you love.

A little while back, I had the chance to talk with Carmichael about the book, how he found his One Word, and the connection between our deepest values and business success. What follows is a transcript of that conversation, minimally edited for style and clarity., your One Word is Believe. Can you tell me a little bit about what it means to you and how it became your word?

Evan Carmichael:It started with me thinking about, What are the things that make me happy? The highest highs in my lifewhat was happening at those moments? And I was also thinking about my favorite songs and movies and what I learned from my parents and instructors growing up.

My favorite movie is Seabiscuit. Its about this horse that is undersized and a jockey that is too big and an owner that has no moneyall these things that, on paper, make it look like they would never win, but they went out and won a bunch. For some people, its a super cheesy, sappy movie, but I like it. Its about belief.

My parents told me when I was growing up that I could do anything, and thats a message Ive passed on to my son.

It turned out that everything positive in my life has been around that concept of believe.

When I first stumbled upon it, I thought, Thats too big a word. We need to be more specific. Other people have done this. But then I got to thinking: How many times do we talk ourselves down from a big idea? Its not even our friends and families and the people around us who talk us down, its us. We have a big, bold idea, and the next day we wake up and say we cant do it.

So I decided to test it. The first thing I did was write a newsletter about Believe and what it meant to me. It was the best newsletter I had put out, in terms of response from my audience. My sister even wrote back to me and said, I actually read your newsletter now! I was proud of my content before, but this felt more personal.


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