Chazz Pratt's avatarChazz PrattGoing Civilian Blog | ‎09-30-2013 04:26 PM

Family Business: Top 5 Things I Observed About Those Who Chose Themselves Over Civilian Careers



I read an article recently naming the Top 5 Richest Women in the US. No surprise that 2 members of the famed Walton Family made the list, along with Women who made their money in such industries as; candy, investments, and media.


Of course, I read the comments posted by readers. As usual, many mentioned the fact that inheritance made millions in many of these cases. Plenty of posts alluded to the idea that “ wouldn’t have made the list if your _______ didn’t…”.




So, I decided to take a moment and read the fine print on the article. In addition to that, I started to think about people I know who have made incredible amounts of money over the years. I think these accomplishments merit recognition, but I’m not at liberty to drop names. Why? Because I believe we rarely hear about some of the things “rich folks” did before they were wealthy. We might miss the most important things if we don’t pay attention or research it.


Top 5 Things I Observed About Those Who Chose Themselves Over Civilian Careers:


Family Legacy


At some point, creating a family legacy became important. Once upon a time, somebody within the wealth family tree decided to create something that their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren could benefit from. These people look much farther into the future than their next paycheck. Their goal is to create wealth, not money. Their goal is to create a perpetual means of making solid money. They don’t get caught up in counting dollars so much as doing what makes sense for their family in the long term.


Humble Beginnings


The first versions or attempts at entrepreneurship started small, and then grew. We tend to pay attention to these rich people once they get press or achieve a certain financial status, but we often forget that these same people did a lot of heavy lifting in the beginning. Many of these people started out in an unrelated business – the Founder Cox Communications started out as a school teacher before buying a small newspaper which eventually grew into a media conglomerate of 17 newspapers, 15 TV stations and 86 radio stations.


I’m Giving You the Job Kid, But…


Have you ever assumed some things because the Owner’s kid works for the company? I remember meeting the Owner and Sons of a very large, well-known food distributor years ago. My initial thought was that these kids were born with silver spoons in their mouths. After some significant time and conversations, I learned that the Owner gave them a job – but put them to work! I even asked a few questions to see if they were just playing for the public, nope! Dad put some high standards on these children and they weren’t about to let the Family down. I guess it’s true that with great power comes great responsibility.


Giving Back


When I refer to the act of giving back, I’m not referring to handouts. And yes, many of these uber-wealthy Individuals make substantial contributions to charities and benefits. Rather, I’m talking about the things that successful business owners do without the need to publicize it. My discovery of these benevolent activities became apparent during unplanned, unscripted conversations with wealthy people whom I’ve known for years. To me, the fact that they share wisdom is the strongest form of giving back. This is that age-old idea of ‘teaching a man/woman to fish’ rather than handing you a fish so you can eat for the day. I’m amazed not only at the “information sharing” that helps others from these people, but the manner in which this information was shared. The information shared not as a way to impress, but in a manner that shows a true heart for people.


A Trusted Team


You’ve heard of this before. Some refer to this as “Personal Board of Directors”, “Accountability Team”, “Inner Circle”, etc. Essentially, we’re talking about the people that wealthy people know and trust. I love those entrepreneur reality-TV shows where wide-eyed wealth wannabees come in and pitch their product or idea to super-successful businesspeople. Their idea is great, but their business acumen lacks what it takes to make it. Wealthy people know how to check their egos at the door and focus on the chances for success and many other factors before they invest. They have teams of people they can trust. Expecting someone – a wealthy someone – to trust you the day you met is highly unlikely. Wealth-builders surround themselves with like-minded people who know how to look out for their best interests. The benefit of time provides these financially solid people clues as to who they can trust and whether or not forming an alliance makes sense. Trust occurs on many levels within the ranks of the wealthy.


What about you? Have you ever met with a wealthy person in order to learn more about how you can succeed in business? Tell us about it.