Exclusive Interview with Rich Woman's Kim Kiyosaki
At first glance, you may think Kim Kiyosaki is just another beautiful woman who gained fame and fortune by marrying Robert Kiyosaki, entrepreneur, investor and author of the “Rich Dad” books. Well, first impressions can be misleading. By the age of 25, Kim was a successful, fiercely independent advertising executive who operated a top, Honolulu magazine. And two years later, she opened her own clothing company with national distribution. But then, Kim hit hard times when she sold everything she had to build a company that taught entrepreneurial business with Robert in Southern California. Within two months, they lost all their money and were even homeless at times, sleeping in an old, beat-up car. Kim then decided to stop feeling sorry for herself, took action and grew the business to 11 offices in seven countries, reaching tens of thousands of seminar attendees.â¨â¨Then in 1989, Kim began a real estate company which now buys, sells and manages millions of dollars in property. Today, Kim is a co-founder of The Rich Dad® Company and a self-made millionaire who spreads the mission of financial literacy via books, games and other educational tools on an international level. Her first book, “Rich Woman – A Book on Investing for Women,” hit the Business Week bestseller list the month it was released and is a bestseller worldwide. Look for Kim’s upcoming book and valuable information at www.richwoman.com. Here, she shares her insights on the importance of being a financially-independent woman and taking action to make things happen.
How do you define success and what have been your secrets to achieving that definition of success?
Entrepreneurship is a crash course in personal development. Success is where you’re every day learning and growing, and being better and more informed than you were the day before. I think that’s the ultimate definition of success. To achieve success, I think it’s crucial for entrepreneurs to be lifelong learners because all we’re doing is solving problems every day. I attend seminars, read books, hang out with successful entrepreneurs, and I’m always learning. The other key is that you have to learn, but then you also have to take action. It’s learning something, putting it into practice and being willing to make mistakes. The only way we really learn is by making mistakes and using these lessons to go forward. That’s probably one of the biggest keys for me.
What is the best business advice you’ve ever received?
To hire smart people and people who are smarter than you. There was one time when I was in a business, and just about doing everything, and a mentor of mine asked me if I wanted to be the president of the company. I said, “I’m not that good at day-to-day operations.” And he said, “You better hire someone who is really good at it.” And that’s what we did. Having people around me who are smarter than me is probably the best advice I’ve had.
Tell me about a time you failed — and what you learned that made you a better businesswoman.
It’s how you react to adversity and the tough times that determine whether or not you are going to be a successful entrepreneur. In 1985, my husband and I started an international business. I sold everything I had, quit my job, moved to California, and within two months, we were flat broke. We were out of money, homeless for a short period and sleeping on people’s floors. If I had two dollars to get me through the weekend, I was surviving on cheese quesadillas and tacos. It was one of the toughest times I’ve been through because of the stress of not having money, being homeless, the self-doubt, and the arguments. But in retrospect, by not quitting, going through that and getting out the other end, it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me because it made me stronger. It made our relationship stronger, and it made me a better businessperson as well. It’s the tough times that actually determine your success as an entrepreneur. Adversity can be your greatest teacher.
How do you balance work and life?
I don’t have much balance in my life, to be honest. When I’m driving on something, I’m pretty focused on that one thing so if I’m working on a real estate investment deal, I’m very focused on that deal. And when I’m writing a book, I’ll be very focused on that book. My husband is my business partner 24/7 so we are always talking about business. We’re always talking about investing, and most of our friends are somehow involved in either investing or our business, so not a lot of balance. And we also have no children, which is purely by choice, so I don’t have that component to deal with. The only thing about balance which I heard and agree with is that if you are standing on your own two feet, that’s balanced. But the only way you move forward is that you have to take a step, and that puts you off balance, so in order to move forward, often times, we have to be off balance. It is really important that women start to take charge of their money and their lives. The more women learn not to depend on someone else, and to depend upon themselves, the more successful they are going to be.
For Kim’s five secrets to being a successful investor and entrepreneur, check back next week. In the meantime, you can learn more from Kim about investing and taking control of your life at www.richwoman.com.
By Melanie Rembrandt
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