From the November 2006 issue of Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur: As successful entrepreneurs, what would you do to build wealth today? Is real estate a part of it? If so, how can entrepreneurs build wealth in a slowing housing market?

Robert Kiyosaki: When I talk to most people about real estate, they're thinking about owning a house. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm buying commercial buildings and large tracts of land. I own thousands of acres of land in China, and I bought a mining company to make that land viable mining gold. That's my formula.

Donald Trump:
Real estate is a part of who I am and what I've built. As a developer, I would look at the hotel/condo mixed-use concept, but housing is not the only market if you are a developer. I started my career in real estate when it wasn't really a booming market in New York City. If you wait for perfect conditions, you will be waiting for a long time. I'd keep my focus while being patient and creative.

 

Do you see changes in how entrepreneurs view success? Do they want more flexibility and other nonfinancial benefits, or are they focused mostly on monetary wealth?

Trump:
Entrepreneurs like to have control, which equals more flexibility, and that hasn't changed. Very few entrepreneurs would welcome the opportunity to work for someone else even if it meant higher income. Entrepreneurs are motivated by independence as well as challenge, knowing they are ultimately responsible for themselves. Monetary success is certainly helpful, but it often becomes more of a score card than anything else.

Kiyosaki:
The [entrepreneurs] I talk to are more concerned about their purpose and mission. Making money is just a game to them. People are looking at the meaning of work now. There's plenty of money.

 

Aside from your co-author, who would you elect as the most inspiring entrepreneur?

Kiyosaki:
That's really easy. My hero's Steve Jobs. I've never met the guy or talked to him, but I just resonate with him. I like everything about him. I know he's a jerk at times, but I admire his style.

Trump:
My father remains the most inspiring entrepreneur to me. He started with nothing, couldn't afford to go to college, and he built a very successful business. He was special because he had the ability to persevere in hard times while remaining positive. He had absolute fortitude. Those are qualities entrepreneurs must have.

Is this a good era for entrepreneurs to grow companies and build wealth?

Trump:
This is a wonderful era for entrepreneurs. The world has opened up as never before. Technology makes global business more accessible to more people and increases opportunities on many levels. More than ever, global awareness is important if one [wants] to grow beyond a local level.

Kiyosaki:
Technology is making it so much easier to grow big, expand quicker, reduce costs and expand revenue. The more I can use electronic or digital means of transacting business, the more I can grow wealth.

 

In your new book, Why We Want You To Be Rich, you talk about thinking expansively as a way to grow wealth. Are there any added risks associated with this? How can you temper ambition with prudence?

Trump:
Thinking expansively will allow you to see more options, more ideas or a combination of ideas that could result in innovations. Creativity and control work best together, which means self-control as well. If we learn from as many sources as possible, it will enhance our abilities because our imaginations will have been stimulated. But hopefully our minds have been disciplined enough to sift through relevant and irrelevant data. Ideas are great, but you have to have the ability to build a foundation to support them.

Kiyosaki:
When I undertake any kind of effort, I know I'm going to fail at it. I don't expect to succeed. To me, failure is part of success. So I think big. The only way we will learn what we don't know is by doing something. It's feedback.

 

What other advice do you have for entrepreneurs today who dream not only of growing their businesses, but also of building wealth?

Trump:
It's about motivation. Successful entrepreneurs will be doing what they love doing, otherwise they wouldn't be doing it, nor would they be successful. Passion is absolutely necessary for success.

Kiyosaki:
There's a difference between building wealth and building a company. If my company needs me to operate, I'm a small-business owner. But my company can operate without me, and that's why I'm wealthy. If [most business owners] stop working, their incomes stop. The key to being an entrepreneur is leveraging other people. So I surround myself with really smart people.

Read an exclusive excerpt of Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki's book, Why We Want You to Be Rich here .

Photo © Larry Ford