Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

This Millionaire Explains the 5 Skills You Must Master to Do and Sell More

"Self-Discipline Strategist" Rory Vaden explains how to make sure what you're doing today will pay off tomorrow.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Rory Vaden is known as the “Self-Discipline Strategist.” He teaches audiences around the world how to become a master of self-discipline, action, goal-setting and achievement.

As an entrepreneur, Vaden co-founded an eight-figure global consulting practice with more than 100 employees, servicing clients (such as P&G, YPO, Wells Fargo Advisors, Merck and Land O’Lakes) in more than 40 countries. He's also a New York Times bestselling author, and his most recent book, Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time, was the basis of his TEDx talk which now has more than 1 million views. Every week, he hosts a podcast called "The Action Catalyst with Rory Vaden.”

I sat down with him in his Nashville, Tenn., home and asked him about building a personal brand, an eight-figure business and a powerful speaker and author platform. 

Here are five skills entrepreneurs and influencers need to master, according to Vaden. Check out the full interview in the video above.

1. Master sales.

Southwestern Consulting, which Vaden co-founded, is part of The Southwestern Family of Companies, and it houses a door-to-door educational product business called Southwestern Advantage. Vaden began selling for Southwestern Advantage in college and quickly learned how to sell face-to-face. He recalled that he knocked on doors for 14 hours a day, six days a week.

“I [was working] on straight commission, sort of running my own business in this program," Vaden says. "I ended up making about $200,000 in five summers. I really got my start knocking on doors and dealing with rejection and getting slammed.”

Vaden became a leader in the company, and he also began speaking, coaching and facilitating leadership training. Soon, he and a few partners had the idea to form a coaching and consulting business under the Southwestern umbrella. When it came time to get Southwestern to invest in the business, again his success came down to sales. Not only did they focus on their sales strategy, he and his partners also had to sell their idea in the room face-to-face. Vaden's advice to those seeking funding is to create strategic answers to sales questions.

“How are you going to sell? How are you going to get a customer? How are you going to get your first customer, then your first hundred customers, then your first thousand customers? Then how are you going to have 100 people that are selling it, or how is it going to scale?” Vaden says. “It's very simple. Figure out how you're going to make one sale, and then figure how you're going to multiply that."

Want to land a publishing deal for your book idea? Forget about your ideas and passion and focus your book proposal on what the publisher wants to know, Vaden advises.

“What is your path for sales? What is the fastest path to cash?" Vaden says. "How are you generating revenue? Everything else is just details.”

2. Master your ego.

Vaden got to pick the mind of Zig Ziglar and was personally mentored by Eric Chester, a Hall of Fame speaker and bestselling author. I asked Vaden how to make the most of incredible opportunities like these, and he explained that you need to humble yourself and do what you’re told.

“The number-one thing that you have to do as a mentee is execute on their advice," Vaden says.

Chester told him to go and give 1,000 presentations, and then get back to him. So Vaden joined Toastmasters and spoke for free 304 times before his first professional presentation. Not many people would continue for free past the first 100 or maybe even 50 or 25 presentations. But those people likely won’t become masters, either.

3. Master your time.

This is the main strategy Vaden breaks down in Procrastinate on Purpose. He encourages readers not to focus on tactics or practices, but instead to change their mindset on time altogether.

"We have more technology, and yet we're more behind than ever before,” Vaden says. “We have more emails, more stuff on our to-do list, more things left unchecked at the end of the day. That's why efficiency doesn't work. That's trying to manage time.”

Related: To Get More Done at Work, This Productivity Exec Says You Need to Get Deliberate

To multiply time, Vaden says we must stop operating in a complete state of urgency and instead give ourselves the emotional permission to spend time today on things that create more time tomorrow, via elimination, automation, delegation and procrastination. Successful people understand that even though it takes approximately 150 minutes to effectively teach and delegate a five-minute task, it’s worth it. He breaks it down:

“If you look at that task over one year instead of one day, and you go, ‘Okay, I'm going to spend five minutes a day on the task 250 working days of the year. That means in a year, I'm going to spend 1,250 minutes on the task.’ It's not, ‘Should I spend 150 minutes to save five?’ It's ‘Should I spend 150 to save 1,250?’ It's why the rich get richer. It's not because they're greedy. They think differently. And the way that wealthy people think about money is exactly the same way that multipliers think about time."

Again, Vaden says we need to give ourselves “emotional permission,” which is key for many mompreneurs like myself (and dadpreneurs as well).

“[Instead of thinking] 'I have to be the one to buy his diapers, and I have to be the one to make his food and I have to be the one that changes every diaper, because it makes me feel like a good parent,' another way of thinking about that is, 'Actually, somebody can help with that stuff, so that when I have time, we're sitting focused and we're playing, and we're engaging, and we're snuggling and we're teaching him.'"

4. Master yourself.

One of Vaden’s key principles is that one never stops. To truly become a master at sales, writing, coaching, speaking or anything else, he says, we can never stop learning or striving.

"There's no invisible finish line of when you have figured out how to maximize your time to the fullest," Vaden says. "Success is never owned. Success is only rented, and the rent is due every day."

He went on, “Take the stairs. Do the things that nobody else is willing to do. Do the things you know you should be doing even when you don't feel like doing them. And if you can get yourself to do that, if you can get yourself to take the stairs, then you can do anything."

5. Master serving.

The most important point Vaden shares is one that comes up again and again with my millionaire guests: Focus on your customer. Focus on solving their problem and adding more value than anyone else. Southwestern Consulting calls this “servant selling.”

“The more you can be focused on helping other people, whether that's in sales, or leadership, or public speaking, or writing or podcasting, it's hard to be nervous when your heart's on service," Vaden says. "That's what it's all about.”

Watch in-depth interviews with celebrity entrepreneurs on The Pursuit with Kelsey Humphreys

Related: How This Doctor Built One of the Most Popular Websites in the World

Entrepreneur Network is premium video network providing entertainment, education and inspiration from successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders. We provide expertise and opportunities to accelerate brand growth and effectively monetize video and audio content distributed across all digital platforms for the business genre.

EN is partnered with hundreds of top YouTube channels in the business vertical and provides partners with distribution on as well as our apps on Amazon FireRoku and Apple TV.

Click here to become a part of this growing video network.


You've Got a Great Invention. Now How Do You Get People to Buy It?

It's a good idea to start a business by solving a problem, but make sure to consider who is actually paying for your solution.

How to Create Video Content People Will Actually Watch

The founder of Patrice Poltzer Creative shares video tips that will help you attract your audience and keep them engaged.

This Entrepreneur Maxed Out His Credit Cards to Build a Business That Helps Companies Protect their Data

The president and CEO of Data443 shares how his company secures and manages organizational data wherever it exists.

How This Doctor-Turned-Entrepreneur is Trying to Change the World Through Play

The CEO of In KidZ shares how she's trying to make inclusion a daily part of family life with her culture-focused company.

How to Lead Calmly and Effectively While Your Business Experiences Growth

The co-founder and CEO of Komodor discusses his company's journey and his advice for entrepreneurs who find themselves in the spotlight overnight.

This Meta Leader Has Interviewed More Than 300 Job Candidates. Here are Her Pro Tips to Help You Nail Your Next Job Interview.

Meta's head of Global Environmental, Social, and Governance Business shares her dos and don'ts when it comes to the phases of a job interview.

This No-Code Platform Just Closed a $55.5 Million Round B

The co-founder and CEO of EasySend shares how his company creates digital customer journeys and his advice for entrepreneurs looking to break through the noise.

This SaaS Founder Sold His Business to Oracle for $9.3 Billion

In November 2016, NetSuite was acquired for $9.3 billion. Founder Evan Goldberg explains how it happened.

These Founders Started Their Company With a $300 Investment. They've Now Done $1 Million in Profits.

Watch this exciting episode of 'Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch' to learn about Canadian legging company Rose Buddha and see which hopefuls are able to land investor capital.

This Digital Campaign Celebrates the Fast-Growing Workforce of Web Creators

Elementor's VP of Marketing discusses the company's digital campaign and how web creators fit into the larger creator economy.

Watch the 60-Second Pitch That Landed a $500,000 Investment

Find out which companies impress our investors on another exciting episode of 'Elevator Pitch.'

Why This CEO Believes Entrepreneurship Is as Important to Learn as Geometry

Ayele Shakur shares her bold plan to make entrepreneurship education a requirement for high-school students and explains why business leaders should get on board.

Discover Entrepreneur Series

Whether you need advice on how to get your business off the ground or you’re just looking for inspiration, our video series have something for everyone. Browse our library below to find a series that speaks to you and your interests.

  • An original series streaming weekly where you can Click-to-Invest while you watch. THEIR JOURNEY. Your decision.
  • Your favorite pitch show is back with new entrepreneurs pitching Entrepreneur's investors.
  • Host Nicole Walters interviews small business founders to discuss their unique challenges and experiences running and growing a business. 
  • Jessica Abo covers the causes people care about, the powerful work they do and how they got to where they are in the first place.
  • Bestselling author, Ben Angel, takes his audience on a journey into the entrepreneurial mind to uncover why we do what we do through his powerful short films and educational videos so you can unleash your ideas and potential.
  • Watch our staff interview top entrepreneurs and report on location in these exclusive videos.