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A CEO’s story

This is a response to a question on Quora : “How has your mindset, thoughts & beliefs changed as you evolved from an inexperienced CEO to be the CEO of a successful startup?”

Answer by A Quora admin: Osama Natto

My mindset changed as I started seeing beyond the fairytale that “working hard will make you rich.”

After 5 years as a full-time entrepreneur, I was still working hard every single day without understanding where I could find real money. If just working hard was really the key to success, as we have been told, I would have already been rich then. I was waking up early every day, sometimes taking flights out of the city before dawn and flying back the same day to attend as many meetings as I could, simply trying my best.

But what was I working toward?

I had been running self-started businesses since I was in high school, but I didn’t even hear the term scalability until I started sitting down with venture capital banks and investors a  few years ago, long after I had already started several businesses. By that time, I was already in too deep to change the business model of each  company, or even exit.

It took me 4 years, from when I first  launched a now-closed company in 2004 to when I finally started learning  how to create real wealth in 2008, to see that my main service-based  business would be very difficult to scale up. Since then, I’ve taken that  company, Innovative Business Solutions, and used it to launch successful, scalable product and service lines.

My new view is that working hard isn’t enough. You have to work toward a future that can scale up with your dreams, as I explain here: Saudi Entrepreneurs: Dream Big or Die Small – Osama Natto.

Now, I ask the young entrepreneurs who visit me these questions:

1. Could your business keep growing if you stopped hiring more team members?

2. Will the resources you need to make money from your business stay low despite the rate at which your business grows?

If the answer to either is “no,” then what they’re doing is creating a job for themselves, not setting up a system that will make them rich.

And if you’re in that situation, you need to understand that it will be very difficult for your start-up to grow no matter how hard you work.

In short, my mindset shifted from the servant’s mentality (success = hard work) to the empire builder’s mentality (success = scalability).

How has your mindset, thoughts & beliefs changed as you evolved from an inexperienced CEO to be the CEO of a successful startup?

This article was posted by Maslowed.Me  – a career portal

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