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What the Richest Man in Private Equity Wants to Tell Entrepreneurs

This story originally appeared on Business Insider

Sometimes it makes sense to stay in your comfort zone.


That's the lesson Steven Schwarzman wants to relay to young entrepreneurs looking for success.

The $11.6 billion CEO and chairman of Blackstone sat down with Betty Liu to chat about his near stint at Harvard and his failures in a podcast.

Liu asked what advice he would have for another Steve Schwarzman who wants to recreate a Blackstone. 

He responded: "Well, I just had one come in, a younger person, had gone to Harvard, super bright, has started a financial company in one area and he's very successful, and people were offering him massive amounts of money to go into different types of businesses because he was successful at one."

When the young graduate spoke to Schwarzman, he revealed he was uncomfortable with the idea of pushing into new areas. Athough the new venture looked superficially similar to his financial company, the skills couldn't carry over, Schwarzman said.

"As tempting as it (is) to take huge amounts of money, don't do it...  I told him there's nothing wrong with expanding, but you have to do it totally in your comfort zone.... Don't go into something you actually don't know much about, in the hopes that you're going to get really financially successful and rewarded.... even though people think you're like terrific."

In short, don't be seduced by the possibility of a great empire or big money, Schwarzman said. Stick with what you know.

"I said, 'when you get older, you'll know what you could truly handle. And there'll always be money... but don't stray to things you really don't intuitively understand."

The young financier left in a cheeful mood. 

"He's going to be very successful anyhow. I mean, life is long," Schwarzman told Liu. "As long as you're excellent, things work out for you." 

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