How the People in Your Life Can Make You Rich

If you're surrounded by toxic people, they could be sucking the wealth away from you. Dan Kennedy shares his "No BS" rules for identifying and replacing them in this excerpt from his latest book.

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By Dan S. Kennedy

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There are very practical obstacles to wealth attraction that short-circuit your wealth attraction.

The first big obstacle is incompetent people. Sometimes, these are people incapable of handling the responsibilities or doing the jobs entrusted to them. More frequently, these are people able but unwilling to do the jobs. They are lazy and uncreative. They are absent a sense of urgency or initiative, so they will do only the minimum, they will not figure out solutions, and they will let their progress be stalled by the slightest challenge and return everything to your lap. Dealing with such people is simply a miserable, sadly common experience. Every entrepreneur wrestles with these people. They may be employees, vendors, advisors or others.

Another related obstacle is people who waste or abuse your time, what I call "time vampires." This bunch can just as easily include certain clients or customers as employees and vendors. Another, related obstacle is people who drain or divert your mental energy, who disrupt the flow of your wealth attraction. Negative people, gloom 'n' doom people, whiners, and complainers. Mike Vance, former Dean of Disney University, calls them pissers and moaners. This bunch can just as easily include friends and relatives as well as employees, vendors, customers or clients.

They must all go. The minute you detect their toxic odor, take action to get them out of your business, out of your life, and to distance yourself from them. You need to develop a zero tolerance policy about all these people and be decisive, even ruthless, in enforcing it. Hesitancy and timidity in doing so will always cost you more than whatever temporary trauma and disruption results from making changes in your staff, vendors or others around you. Always.

I'll give you a very common example. A client with five staff members in his office brought me in to observe, interview, analyze, and look at his business from top to bottom with my "fresh eyes." I told him that his majorette domo, his key office manager, and the employee with him the longest, had to go. I told him she was sabotaging his new initiatives behind his back, ignoring procedures he wanted followed, damaging morale, and driving away good clients. I told him she was the equal of an open vat of toxic chemicals. He insisted he needed her, relied on her, and couldn't function without her; at bare minimum, the disruption caused by firing her would be disastrous. It took me over a year to convince him to give the old battleaxe the ax.

Immediately after doing so, sales increased. No other changes. No increased advertising. Her exit, enter more income. Within the year, the business was 30 percent more profitable, the remaining employees measurably more productive, and my client happier, more relaxed and more productive. By the following year, his net worth had increased by nearly $500,000.00, and he had enough liberated time to finally launch a second business he'd been back-burnering for years. A "wealth block" had been surgically removed and vibrant health created by its removal.

Think of your wealth attraction power as electric current. Years ago, strings of Christmas lights could be short-circuited by any loose bulb, any burnt-out bulb, or any bad fuse. If there was one of these anywhere in the entire string of lights, it disrupted the flow of power, and the entire string shut off. I remember helping my father unscrew and test bulb after bulb, fuse after fuse, to find the one bad bulb. The power cord that runs between you and the world supply of wealth and the world supply of wealth and you has a very similar flaw. One disruptive person laying a finger on it anywhere along the line shuts down the entire flow of power.

I try my level best to operate a zero tolerance policy toward people who disrupt the flow of my wealth attraction power. Be they employee, vendor, associate or client, I will not tolerate interference with the flow of wealth to me. I rid myself of them, even if at considerable, temporary cost. I have, on several occasions, stopped projects for clients after I'd done a lot of work on them, refunded as much as $70,000.00, just to get rid of the client who was a "problem child," seriously interfering with my flow of power.

Most people tolerate others causing them undue stress and aggravation, without realizing how costly such tolerance is. I want you to understand: it is very, very costly.

The opposite of all this is the assembly and organization of your own small cadre of exceptionally competent, highly creative, extraordinarily reliable, and trustworthy individuals who are in sync and harmony with you and your objectives, who facilitate and even multiply your wealth attraction power. If you read Lee Iacocca's autobiography, you saw his description of this as his "horses," the few key people he relied on. If you carefully observed Donald Trump on The Apprentice, read his books, and read the biography about him, you realized that George and Carolyn and several other key people make Trump possible. Without them, Trump wouldn't be and couldn't be Trump. You will find this theme true of all incredibly accomplished, successful and wealthy entrepreneurs.

In short, the people around you, the people who populate your world, the people you rely on either enhance or sap your wealth attraction power. No person with whom you interact is a neutral factor. Each and every person either drains power from you or contributes power to you. One or the other. Power source or power drain. Ally or enemy. Black or white. Refusing to face the black-and-white nature of this with clarity and accuracy and honesty is a major obstacle to wealth attraction. Refusing to act appropriately and decisively about what you deduce about a person, about a power drainer, is a major obstacle to wealth attraction.

How to Build a "Power Team" Around You
I have been very, very fortunate in my life to have had a number of people around me who have added to my power. They have changed over time; some left, some come. Change is inevitable.

But I have certainly had an enormous amount of support.

Mine is in tiers.

In the first tier have been spouses, close associates, close friends, people I've relied on heavily, at different times, in different ways. My second wife, Carla, for example, was an important, chief source of support and power for many of the 22 years of our marriage. At present, Bill Glazer, who publishes my No B.S. Marketing Letter and operates Glazer-Kennedy Inner Circle, and his crackerjack staff, and Pete Lillo, who publishes two of my other newsletters, are enormously valuable business associates I can rely on without equivocation. Vicky Tolleson, my lone employee, office manager, personal assistant, time and access sentry, problem solver and client services director, is valuable beyond description. These people and a very short list of others, past or present, work with me pretty much on my terms, with the prime purpose of supporting and facilitating my productivity. They view their responsibility and best interests as making it possible for me to function at peak performance. I also have a very short list of people I can rely on for advice, counsel and information. It features Lee Milteer, a close friend and associate, who is a reliable sounding board and encourager, but also questioner. The total number of people in this tier at any given time is less than a dozen.

In the second tier are both suppliers and clients. For example, for nine years, I've run a formal "mastermind group" exclusively for information marketers in businesses akin to my own, all highly successful and innovative, all wealthy. While they pay me well to organize, host, facilitate and direct the group and its meetings, I also participate as a member and benefit from the exchange of ideas and information. This tier also includes my CPA firm, the person I am most involved with in real estate investments, Darin Garman, and other paid advisors.

In the third tier are all the other clients I work with, the other vendors I rely on, the other sources of information I access, and trade associations I belong to. Included here, for example, is the publisher of this book, its editor, its marketing people, my other publishers, my literary agents and my publicist. Also included are the consulting and copywriting clients I work for and who support me, but who I must still act discriminately toward. Also included are the editors, graphic artists, webmasters and other professionals and vendors I use intermittently, project by project.

This is "Planet Dan," a world I create and own and control, populated only by people I permit to be there, governed by laws I legislate and enforce. It's a small planet, so I have some level of personal relationship with every inhabitant of the planet. Every one of these relationships is a two-way street. They all influence me as I influence them. That's unavoidable. They all either enhance or drain my energy. They all either support and facilitate or interfere with my productivity. They all either enhance or disrupt my wealth attraction.

This is true of every single person you permit existence in your world, too. Rule your world accordingly.

Read about 24 more "wealth magnets" in Dan Kennedy's new book,No B.S. Wealth Attraction for Entrepreneurs

Dan S. Kennedy

Author, Strategic Advisor, Consultant, and Business Coach

DAN S. KENNEDY is a strategic advisor, consultant, business coach, and author of the popular No B.S. book series. He directly influences more than one million business owners annually. 

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