Love him or not, I think Arnold's autobiography Total Recall should be mandatory reading for anyone who has their eye set on an extraordinary level of success.
As far as Arnold's success goes, I think it is very important to mention that Arnold DID NOT make his first million from acting or bodybuilding.
This is a little detail that most people gloss over and get completely wrong.
Before he was an established movie star, he was a champion bodybuilder at a time when the sport was so unknown and obscure that there wasn't any serious money to be made from it. Any cash winnings from his titles were a mere pittance compared to what they are to day.
So how did Arnold rake in all of that moolah?
1. Good Old Fashioned Hustlin'
Arnold's philosophy about making money is simple: take one dollar and make two. He proudly recalled saving all of the money from his job at Weider publishing, and also the profits from his 2-man construction company AND his growing bodybuilding mail order business…
…While all of his friends were saving up to buy a house, he bought his first 8 unit apartment building with a partner. Arnold kept reinvesting until he became a cash millionaire.
Most people scoff at success stories chalk all up to 'luck'. They love to say things like, "If I were a bodybuilding champion and Hollywood star, I'd be rich too." #luckysonofabitch.
…The fact that Arnold's first million came from good old fashioned elbow grease and a little bit of shrewd investing proves that he would have succeeded in spite of all the 'luck' he received. Even if he had never become a champion bodybuilder, or landed his first acting roles, or become the Governator, nothing would stop him from succeeding as an entrepreneur.
Here's another success tip from Arnold that is now cemented into my brain:
2. You'll Have Plenty Of Time To Sleep When You Are Dead!
In his bodybuilding prime, Arnold worked out 5 hours a day, took acting classes 4 hours a day, was a part time university student, and he worked at his construction business and mail order business for several hours daily.
How the hell did he find all of this time?
Well, for starters, Arnold only sleeps 6 hours a day. I've always shrivelled up at the idea of losing sleep on account of hustling — or anything else – but Arnold insists that 6 hours a day is optimal. I would have never believed this was healthy, (I thought it was 9 hours) but the greatest bodybuilding champion of all time pulled it off, and he looks great!
He also lives by an old bodybuild mantra: Reps, reps, reps!
…That is to say, the more reps you do, the better you become at a particular skill. Period. More than luck, or natural ability, constant practice paved the way to Arnold's continual success. He makes this clear in no uncertain terms.
3. Leave No Stone Unturned.
When Arnold gets a goal fixed in his mind, he sets out to gain every possible advantage so that he can achieve it. This means, firstly, that he should work really hard…and he also made a point to snatch up every possible competitive advantage. This is why he felt justified in using steriods. All of his competitors were using it, and at the time, nobody really knew anything about the side effects, so he didn't think twice about shooting up. (He also pointed out that many bodybuilders today consume more than 20x more steriods than he did in his prime, which suggests that he's not so much against the use of steriods…but the abuse of it.)
Arnold didn't shy away from pshcological warfare either. He ruthlessly teased his competitors in order to psych them out, or to make them slip up and make a mistake. He explained how he tricked his first Mr. Olympia competitor into showing up to the competition ten pounds heavier…I felt bad for the reigning champ Sergio Oliva when I read about his embarrassing defeat. Arnold did too…a little.
He even took ballet lessons to perfect his stage poses.
And the dude really gets a kick out of when people underestimate him he usually finds a way to crush his opponents because of it…
No stone unturned.
4. Sell, Sell, Sell…
Arnold recognized that good salesmanship and success go hand in hand no matter what the industry.
He lamented at all of the legendary artists artists who would curse the idea of selling, as if it were beneath them, and then go to a restaurant and do a painting from scratch for a free meal. Much of the book was devoted to Arnold's constant campaigning for his movies, charitable causes, and of course, for governor.
Not only would he travel from city to city to sell, he would come up with sensational ploys to attract attention from the media… He walked up and down the streets of Austria wearing nothing but his muscles and a speedo to promote the gym he worked for at the time. He famously claimed that pumping iron felt better than cumming. He didn't really mean it…but the journalists gobbled it up!
5. Unhealthy Optimism?
It's easy to think of Arnold as uber successful now…but when reading his book, you really got the sense that people thought he was a batshit crazy. Here was this guy who looked like a freak, who could barely speak english, yet he casually believed that he would become the highest paid man in Hollywood some day…
In the book, he talked about his goal setting and "visions" of success. Once he got an image fixed in his mind, he was hell bent on pursuing it and nothing else. For example, he would envision standing on stage on the first place platform at the Mr. Universe bodybuilding competition, with the runners' up on either side.
He said that Maria Shriver's unflinching faith in him was a big part of his attraction to her…
…But then again, in the chapter about his steamy encounter with his maid and subsequent lovechild, Arnold seemed eeriely confident that things would work out and Maria would ultimately reconcile with him. I could sense his sadness about the whole thing, but even he had to admit that his optimism about the situation might be a little delusional.
It was sad. But when talking about the aftermath of his martial transgressions, I almost got a hint of the dark side of Arnold's seemingly bullet proof optimism. While it may have led him to fame and fortune, he might have used this incredible attitude to create gaping blind spots in his personal flaws and weaknesses.Read more »
Kit Hickey, Cofounder Of Ministry Of Supply. Co-creator of The Atlas Sock.
Anton: Today I'm with Kit, one of the co-founders of a crowdfunding startup called Ministry of Supply, and her product, the Atlas sock is doing really well on Kickstarter right now. At the time of this interview, it's at $165,000 with 7 days to go, which is also past their goal of $30,000. So welcome Kit.
Kit: Thank you so much.
Anton: Awesome, so why don't you tell me a little about your product. What is it, and how did you make a sock special?
[Addition] Here is the promo video for Atlas:
Kit: (Laughs) So our company is Ministry of Supply launched last year on Kickstarter with another product. And what we do is we choose to focus on professional clothing, so a lot of the technology that you might see in performance clothing, into professional clothing. So you might see clothing that's more comfortable, more breathable–––more technically advanced.
And we had a lot of customers who keep emailing us saying, "You know I love your shirts, I love your pants, but I'm really interested in socks…I feel like I'm pulling my business socks up all day, every day…and once I get home, I can't wait to get them off me. I wear them every single day…" and it's one of the products that companies don't pay attention to in terms of making a better product. So we started thinking about that and we were like, "Yeah, that's a cool idea, let's bring some of the same technology to socks."
And what happened was, we thought it was a good idea, we knew we had some customers who thought it was a good idea, but we didn't know that the minimum order quantity was $30,000 from manufacturers, so we decided to turn to Kickstarter again…
To Answer The Question, What Makes Our Socks Different:
The socks are made of coffee, which is completely anti odor. If anybody ever goes to a mall where they give you free perfume samples, they sometimes have you smell coffee in between the samples to clear the fragrances from your nose, coffee is inherently anti odor. We also did things like strain analysis and thermal mapping on the foot to see exactly how the skin on the foot moves, so that the socks will actually move with your foot, not against it. So we're really paying attention to the sock to figure out how it can be more durable, how can it be more anti odor…and how can it be more comfortable. So at the end of the day, you really feel confident in that every piece of your clothing, from head to toe, is really working for you.
Anton: From my vantage point, your product doesn't have 20,000 moving parts to it. It's simple. But there's obviously a lot of thought that went into producing it. What kind of steps did it take this thing to a prototype? What did you have to do?
Kit: We've actually been doing R&D for about 8 months. So did a lot of work with our manufacterer on what exactly is the best composition. We did a lot of durability testing, and a lot of machine washed testing to see, "will these things hold up? will they be okay in the wash?" we don't want them to start fraying a month in. So to get to our prototype now, it was actually about 8 months of R&D, and we have finished prototypes of the product, so you will be able to place your order on Kickstarter knowing that our product has been rigorously tested.
Anton: What was the first thing you did? Did you make a drawing? What happened?
Kit: The first thing we did was talk to customers to understand their pain points. So what we used is called, consumer centers to buying…and that means really understanding the pain points first, and then coming up with a way to solve those pain points. So we first to the customers and we said like, "What socks do you wear now, what do you think about them? If you could improve socks in anyway, what would you do?" and just understanding that was where a lot of work for the first few months went into…
Anton: And when you had a solid idea of the what the new sock had to be, then what did you do? Did you get a prototype? DId you do more R&D?
Kit: We sat with our manufacturers for a few weeks on end to figure out how we could make this a reality. So we worked with our manufacturer to see what was possible, and see where we could innovate to solve those pain points.
Anton: Is there a specific kind of manufacturer that you approached?
Kit: We only approached the most innovative clothing manufacterers in the world. We wanted someone who is really familiar with clothing manufacturing of course, because they can help us be the most innovative, and we can figure out solutions that have never been thought off before. So when we think of manufacturers we start off with, "Who is doing the most innovative things, and who is great at clothing?"
On thing we use for the socks was 3D knitting…
You've probably heard of 3D printing, well we had our socks printed in 3D so that there's no seams. And they're created by machines so someone isn't pitching in their creative genes.
Anton: One of the big misconceptions of crowdfunding is, people think that they can just hop on Kickstarter with their beautiful product, and make a hundred grand…and just like, go to bed. It seems to me, with your crowdfunding startup, that you've obviously put in a ton of work for the better part of a year. Without revealing too many of your trade secrets, what kind of expenses have you incurred getting this product to the front door of your first manufacturing run?
Kit: That's definitely a huge misconception that people have. In terms of expenses, we haven't incurred that many expenses at all… but in terms of time, it's taken so much! Basically, we've all been working 24 hours a day on it: reaching out to press, replying to customers, making sure they a really happy, reaching out to bloggers, sending samples, we constantly update our main page to figure out what stuff resonates, and what doesn't…and switching that. We switched our video a few times, even during the campaign.
A big portion of time goes to making sure our backers are happy and they have to tools to share it, and then often just getting in front of bloggers and press.
Anton: If you were a startup crowdfunding consultant, what would you say are steps A through Z to do a successful project on Kickstarter?
1. Kit: The first thing I'd say, is to spend a lot of time on the story that your video is trying to convey. So instead of shooting the video quickly, or not figuring out the story, figure out why the product is really unique, why the backers should be excited, and how it really enhances the life of the backer. And really spend a lot of time showing that in your video so it's something that's aspirational, something that's easily communicated in the first 30 seconds of watching the video so the watcher knows exactly what you're trying to sell…And that's really where I spent the bulk of my upfront time.
2. The other thing is getting lots of traction in the first 48 hours. So we came up with a list of 200 blogs that might be interested, got all their information, and reached out to them within the first 48 hours of the launch. So just getting people excited about it, getting that early virality…if you can say, "48 hours have passed and I'm already 30% to my goal," is so much better than "48 hours passed, now we have 5 backers…"
So I think for anyone with a startup crowdfunding campaign: really focusing on having a good story, and focusing on getting the word out, especially in the first 48 hours…to actually get people excited. The number of people you have backing you in the first 48 hours acts as a kind of social proof.
Anton: Let me go into your video a little bit…
I'm a professional copywriter, that's what I do to pay the bills, and I didn't know if you guys hired a professional or not, to write the script for your video, but I was impressed because obviously, you talked about all of the pain points of your customer…and how your sock solved all of those pain points…But there is a level about that which I don't normally see in a lot of Kickstarter videos. You had cute little metaphors to paint a mental picture of the selling points of your sock in an really understandable way…
Kit: Yeah…that's definitely part of what we focus on when we did the video script. We really thought about some phrases that are really memorable, that explain the technology, and that people can really run with…One of the phrases was, "A Brita filter for your feet." We found that having simple phrases like that really resonated with people, so they could tell their friends or they could tweet about it…or they could post it on Facebook.
Other catchy phrases:
"A Brita filter for your feet"
"It's like walking on coffee"
"It's like 3D printing for socks"
"Atlas disappears into your shoe, becoming a second skin."
For one of our old products we used to say:
"Master of technology comes to serve"
Anton: I noticed you were on TechCrunch and a lot of other major media spots, was that a coincidence or is there something there?
Kit: No it was all hard work. Like I said, we have 200 blogs that we reached out to, and it was all blind emailing. So I'm like, "Hi, my name is Kit, I'm one of the cofounders, this is our project…" and we started off with smaller blogs to really get that traction going…and then we emailed places like TechCrunch after a week and said, "Hey, we hit our goal in a week. Look at this project, it's really really exciting." So like I said before, it's really about getting that early traction. That helps a lot. And then when the bigger websites see the project they're like, "Oh wow. Lots of people have been talking about this project, it's definitely something I should take a look at."
Anton: Well, I think that's it for today, so Kit, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions.
Kit: Thanks so much for thinking about us!Read more »