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Aaron Sansoni

Aaron Sansoni

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Think Like Spotlight: Jack MA

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This month’s entrepreneur spotlight is one of inspiration and perseverance. It is the story of Jack Ma, a 54-year old Chinese businessman worth approximately US$34.7 billion. He hasn’t always been a success story, however. Jack Ma grew up very poor and suffered a great deal of rejection prior to his rise to fame.

Claim to Fame: Alibaba Group

Entrepreneurial History:

Ma began his career with a visit to the United States in 1995. It was here that some friends introduced him to the internet. Ma was immediately fascinated and perplexed. He couldn’t find any websites relating to China during his online searches. Recognizing an opportunity, he created one that would attract several investors in the span of a few hours. He set out to create a Chinese internet company but, unfortunately, this attempt (and the next one) would fail.

Four years later, in 1999, Jack Ma would host the meeting that began the company responsible for his success: Alibaba Group. The company would be the Chinese equivalent of a modern-day Amazon — an online marketplace of sorts. Ma and 17 of his friends worked hard and by October of 1999, they had raised more than USD$25 million to be used for the improvement of World Trade Organization challenges.

Alibaba would continue to experience growth throughout the early 2000s and actually became profitable in 2002 but they were not unchallenged. eBay had appeared on the scene and although Alibaba attempted to keep up with their own version called Taobao, the competition was proving fierce. Eventually, Taobao would attract the attention of eBay and an offer to purchase would be made. Jack Ma, a businessman at heart, rejected the offer choosing to partner with another investor instead.

Yahoo agreed to invest USD$1 billion in exchange for a 40% share in Jack Ma’s company. This move would prove to be the catalyst that propelled Alibaba into fame. Ma would remain CEO of the Alibaba Group over the next eight years. He stepped down in 2013 but remained an integral part of the company as he took on the role of executive chairman.

In 2014, the company went public which is significant for two reasons. First, it created the “largest offering for a US-listed company in the history of the New York Stock Exchange.” Second, it made Jack Ma the richest man in China, although this particular title would be temporary.

Jack Ma’s entrepreneurial story demonstrates the importance of perseverance and a positive attitude. He did not let more than 20 job rejections and 2 failed entrepreneurial ventures beat him. He kept going.

Today, Jack Ma is devoted to entertainment, philanthropy, and trade.

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Why You Shouldn’t Read Success Stories

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Success stories are earning themselves a rather poor reputation on the world wide web. Many people devour them in an attempt to glean some sort of recipe or checklist for success. They are then disappointed to find narration instead of instruction and there is a perfectly good reason for this. Success stories motivate, but they don’t activate.

Motivation occurs when you are inspired to do something great. It’s activation, however, that teaches you how to take action. This is exactly why several success stories turn out to be a disappointment for readers. Sure, they are interesting reads. Sure, they motivate you temporarily. But, they leave with you no heading. No direction. No instruction. No idea what to do next.

Individuals that are truly ready to take control of their lives and improve their daily reality shouldn’t read success stories. They should read stories that teach lessons instead. When you log online or head to the nearest shopping center to choose your next entrepreneurial help book, keep the following 3 things in mind:

  1. Everyone’s story is different. You’ll never be able to replicate a success story in its entirety. Your circumstances are different. Your background is different. You are different.
  2. Inspiration is great but activation is better. Look for books that give you useful pieces of advice and small action items you can take to begin your journey. You don’t want a story. You want information you can use.
  3. Every good lesson requires notetaking. If the book you choose doesn’t automatically include a place for you to scribble down your thoughts and outline relevance to your own life, then it’s probably not meant for action.

So what kind of books should you read?

Whether your an entrepreneur, a businessman, or a salesperson, if you want to make progress you need to read sources that are designed to guide you. Look for books that include tools for progress and examples on how to use them. Find a book that allows you to draw parallels from the lessons that it spells out for you.

You already know that Think Like is different, and I encourage you to read it as an example of how a success story can be repurposed into something useful and activational. Once you have an idea of what that looks like, you’ll be better prepared to choose books that will help you make progress on your journey.

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Think Like Spotlight: Sara Blakely

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This month’s entrepreneur spotlight is perhaps slightly less well-known than some of the other entrepreneurs we’ve featured, and yet she has the made the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world (2012) and named the 93rd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes (2014). She is Florida-native and Georgia-famous— Sara Blakely.

Claim to Fame: Spanx

Entrepreneur Spotlight:

Sara Blakely originally set out to pursue a career in law, but decided early on that it wasn’t the right fit for her. Instead, she found that she excelled in sales after gaining employment at a door-to-door company that sold fax machines. It was in this career that she came up with her billion dollar idea: women’s undergarments, like hosiery, that would hide lines and firm up the appearance of the upper legs and torso without an unsightly toe seam or rolling.

Blakely was just 27 years old when she set out to develop and sell her product. Over the course of two years, she met with several executives in the hosiery industry. Nearly all were male and nearly all of them rejected her product. Except one. A mill operator offered to support Sara and her product thanks to encouragement from his three daughters.

The prototype took a year to create. Sara spent $750 on a patent and $150 on a trademark for the product. They would be called Spanx.

Once the product was complete and packaging was created, Sara Blakely pitched Spanx to Neiman Marcus. The company took on the product, initially selling them in just seven stores. Several other major department stores took notice and added Spanx to their inventory not long after. Throughout all of this, Blakely maintained her job with the fax machine company. In fact, she would remain with the company until 2000 when Oprah Winfrey named Spanx a “favorite thing.” Sales soared and Blakely left the fax machine company to focus on her own business.

Not one to shy away from work, Sara managed all aspects of her business by herself until it was no longer possible for a single human to do so. Spanx netted a cool $4million in year one sales, and doubled revenue to $10 million in year two.

In 2005, Blakely met Richard Branson during her time on a then-popular reality tv show for billionaires. In 2013, she expressed interest in designing “the world’s most comfortable high-heeled show.” In 2015, she was a part of a group that successfully purchased the Atlanta Hawks – a professional basketball team based in Georgia.

As of November 2017, Sara Blakely was worth $1.14 billion…all because she was no good at law.

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About The Author: The Qualifications of Aaron Sansoni

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We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the entrepreneurs featured in Think Like, but we haven’t taken much time to talk about the author of this inspirational collection of success stories. Aaron Sansoni of Melbourne, Australia is uniquely qualified to share his experience and advice with the world thanks to his frequent participation in six different aspects of the business, training, and entrepreneurial fields.

Entrepreneurship:

Aaron Sansoni is a founder of a successful venture capitalist firm that helps businesses in various industries make their start. To date, he has interests in real estate, technology, retail, media, and events. Aaron has also worked hard to create and establish his own business training empire consisting of educational events, courses, and mentorship opportunities.

Venture Capitalism:

Aaron’s venture capitalist company, Paragon Global Investments, provides startup companies around the world with the leadership and funding they need to be successful. Paragon Global Investments focuses specifically on startups that would benefit from Aaron and company’s unique business experiences, and seek to invest their time, training, and resources into any company they take on.  

Education:

Sansoni is a skilled, global educator offering a variety of sales and leadership mastery courses designed to motivate business leaders and provide how-to advice on managing successful sales businesses. His courses are available in various formats, and revised regularly for relevance.

Sales:

No location is too difficult for Sales King Aaron Sansoni. He has successfully sold in nearly every type of environment as he built his empire. From the streets to the boardroom to the internet, Aaron has amassed valuable experience across most aspects of the sales industry. Now he seeks to share that value with you.

Business Mentorship:

Through his venture capitalism company, Aaron offers his services as a mentor to businesses and business leaders across the globe. He works closely with them, building a relationship designed to teach mentees how to take control of their own lives and operate a business for success.

Motivational Speaking:

Aaron Sansoni has spoken motivationally and educationally to more than two million individuals across 41 different countries. He has shared the stage with some of the most renowned business leaders of our time including Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, and Arnold Schwarzeneger.

To learn more about Aaron Sansoni, visit his personal website!

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Think Like Spotlight: Bill Gates

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The entrepreneur featured in this month’s Think Like Spotlight is the second-richest person in the world as of August 2018. He has a net worth of $95.4 billion and his name is recognized in households around the world. Read along as we briefly cover the interesting entrepreneurial history of one Bill Gates.

Claim To Fame: Microsoft Corp.

Entrepreneurial History:

Gates developed an interest in computers and programming in the eighth grade. He attended a private prep school that was able to purchase an early terminal and computer time for students. Gates immediately took to the machine. When he no longer had access to the school computer, he pursued access via the Computer Center Corporation (CCC). It wasn’t long before Bill Gates engaged in his first business transaction, working out a deal with the CCC to identify system bugs in exchange for additional, free computer time.

Bill’s adeptness with computer technology was quickly identified, and he began to receive programming opportunities which he accepted with gratitude. His first real venture came in 1972. Gates partnered with Paul Allen on Traf-O-Data, a company that utilized the Intel 8008 processor to produce traffic counters.

In 1975, Gates left Harvard to once again work with Paul Allen. This time they were developing and distributing a BASIC interpreter for Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) in New Mexico. They had their own office and referred to themselves as Micro-Soft. It took less than a year for the company to drop the hyphen and officially register with the State of New Mexico. Legal disputes over payments for the general use of software eventually caused Microsoft to split from MITS and seek headquarters in Bellevue, Washington.

The eighties would see Bill Gates lead Microsoft through a series of strategic partnerships that would propel the company into the famous technology stratosphere. A two-part deal with Seattle Computer Products and IBM resulted in the widely-known MS-DOS system and initiated the success. Gates’ company would go on to produce some of the most popular computer software of the century.

Ever the entrepreneur, Bill Gates is devoted to reinvesting his fortune. Some he donates to philanthropic efforts through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation he created in 2000. Some in invests in other profitable businesses in the hospitality and entertainment industries.  He has also authored two books:

  • The Road Ahead in 1995 (Co-authored by Nathan Myhrvold and Peter Rinearson)
  • Business @ The Speed of Thought in 1999

Bill Gates began his slow transition from full-time tech entrepreneur to full-time philanthropist in 2006. He remained as Chairman of Microsoft until 2014. Today, Bill Gates currently serves as a technology advisor to CEO Satya Nadella.

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How To Read Think Like

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I’ve said time and time again that reading Think Like is different than reading other books and this time I’m being literal. The way you actually read Think Like should be different. There’s no right or wrong way, of course, but there is most certainly a recommended way to take in all that this compilation of success has to offer entrepreneurs.

Read for Inspiration

The first time you read Think Like should feel very much like reading any other inspirational tale. Allow yourself to take in the information being presented to you at your own pace. Read with the intention of understanding and without the distraction imposed by the desire to get started right away. When we’re in a hurry, it’s easy to miss some of the most important details.

By reading Think Like as you would a regular book that isn’t about to change your life, you’ll better appreciate the incredible feats of some of the centuries leading entrepreneurs. Their tales of success will enthrall, captivate, and motivate you. In fact, it may make you want to read it a second time…and that’s where the fun starts!

Read to Take Notes

Your second time reading Think Like should be more of an educational experience. Use highlighters. Take notes. Dog ear pages. Your intent should be to identify the lessons that are most relevant to you. Determine which entrepreneurs experiences align with your own goals. Think about the key takeaways of each entrepreneur and record your thoughts and ideas in the Notes sections conveniently provided at the end of each chapter.

Don’t worry. I’ll help point you in the right direction along the way. The important part of this round is to collect and compile the information that can be used in your own life.

Read to Create an Action Plan

The third time you read Think Like will be life-changing. This is where you are going to create the plan that will propel you into a new stratosphere of entrepreneurial thinking. Use the inspiration you’ve acquired, the notes you’ve taken, and the advice I’ve given to evoke action. Apply the lessons to your own life and condense your favorite ones into actual, achievable steps you can take on your own. This is the part of the book that you have control over.Then, if you stick to your action plan and really work to change the way you think, the next time you pick up Think Like it may be as a fond memory of what started your journey to success.  

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Where To Find Think Like On The Web

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We’ve been talking a lot recently about the benefits of reading Think Like, but one thing we haven’t covered is where to find out more. Fortunately, there are several places across the web where potential readers can learn more about the book and author Aaron Sansoni.

BuyThinkLike

The best resource for Think Like is its very own website: www.buythinklike.com. The website features a dynamic, scrolling homepage that provides insight into both the book and the author. You will find rave reviews, projected learning points, and even download and read a chapter before purchasing the book. When you’re done exploring, you can purchase Think Like using the “Buy Now” button located in the menu header!

GoodReads

GoodReads is an excellent platform to learn more about Aaron Sansoni. His author page features a small biography, syndicated blog posts related to Think Like, and all of Aaron’s favorite quotes from other authors. You can check out the events list if you’d like to see Aaron live, and there’s even a Q&A section where you can submit questions that you’d like for the author to answer.  

Reedsy

Reedsy is similar to GoodReads in that it is, essentially, an author profile. You can read a bit about Aaron Sansoni as you check out syndicated blog posts. The profile features prominent links to Aaron’s social pages, as well as the option to follow the author and receive updates when new information is posted. You are also able to see which of your friends are following Aaron on Reedsy and GoodReads!

Scribd

Scribd is more of a book profile than an author profile. It features book facts like the number of book pages and average time to complete this book. You can assign the book a rating, write a review, and read a detailed preview of a chapter right out of the book. Readers with Scribd profiles may choose to save Think Like to book lists, share the book page with friends, or save the page for reference later on.

Amazon

Those looking to avoid the fluff and get straight down to business will be happy to know that Aaron Sansoni’s Think Like can be found on Amazon. It is available in paperback and Kindle editions. Purchasers have the option to review the book, see recommended purchase pairings, and view critical product details in an easy-to-read format. An author biography and product reviews are also available.

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Think Like Spotlight: Steve Jobs

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This month’s Think Like Spotlight covers the entrepreneurial basics of one of the greatest tech entrepreneurs of our time: Steve Jobs. The California native successfully leveraged relationships, technology, and business to create an empire that is a relevant part of the modern world to this day.

Claim To Fame: Apple Inc., Pixar

Entrepreneurial History:

Many recognize Steve Jobs as co-founder of Apple Inc., but few actually realize how long the company has been in business. Prior to iPhones and modern MacBooks, Jobs and co-founder Steve Wozniak joined forces to sell the first Apple I computer. The year was 1976.

Unlike many of the entrepreneurial success stories featured in Think Like, Steve Jobs did not begin his career as an entrepreneur very early on. In fact, he spent most of his earlier years traveling the globe and experimenting with various cultural beliefs and practices. It wasn’t until 1974, when Steve Jobs returned from his travels, that he began to leverage his friendship with Wozniak for employable reasons.

The two intellects worked together behind-the-scenes while Jobs maintained a position at Atari, utilizing Wozniak’s expertise in exchange for compensation when necessary. When Wozniak invented the Apple I computer in 1976, it was Jobs’ idea to sell it— his first real entrepreneurial pursuit at the age of 21. With innovation, technology, and a lot of investment solicitation on Jobs’ part, the entrepreneur was worth roughly $1 million dollars by the time he was 23. Apple would continue to grow and expand, as would the entrepreneurial ventures of Steve Jobs.

In 1985, Steve set out to establish NeXT Inc., a technology-based computer/software company. NeXT would struggle on and off for several years before the release of NeXTSTEP/Intel in 1993. Eventually, the software company would create enough innovative waves to solicit the attention of none other than Apple Inc. Apple acquired NeXT in 1997, a move that returned Jobs to Apple Inc. where he would remain until 2011.  

During his time at NeXT, Steve also spent a good deal of time nurturing the artistic side he had developed during his early years. He provided a computer graphics division of Lucasfilm $10 million in funding to initiate a “spinout” in 1986— half for capital and half for technology rights. The group would eventually partner with Disney to create their very first film. The film was released in 1995. It credited Steve Jobs as the executive producer and became an instant classic in the industry. The film’s name? Toy Story.

Steve Jobs would continue to nurture the relationship with Disney over the next decade until a contract expiration served as the catalyst for a falling-out in 2004. Jobs took Pixar elsewhere for a brief span of time but rekindled the partnership when the Disney chief executive was replaced. In 2006, Jobs struck a deal that would give him control of 7% of Disney shares in an “all-stock transaction worth $7.4 billion.” The transaction would result in Disney’s purchase of Pixar.

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What You’ll Learn From Reading Think Like

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I’ve mentioned once or twice now that reading Think Like is not like reading your everyday self-help book. It’s meant to motivate, inspire, and advise on a very real, very professional level. You won’t hear wishy-washy words or vague bits of generic instructions. Instead, you’ll be exposed to the true success stories of some of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time in hopes that understanding their mindset helps to condition your own.

When you read Think Like, you should expect to walk away with a better understanding of the following concepts:

How To Think Like A Leader

It is true that leaders are required to think and behave differently. Great leaders are working for their team and not the other way around. And, while leadership goals are usually similar in nature, there are countless different ways to approach achieving them.

Best Practices

Theories are great, but examples are better. Think Like features sample best practices that you can implement on your own as you create your personal entrepreneurial journey.

Obtaining Insights From Various Backgrounds 

 There’s more than one path to successful leadership. Each of the 21 entrepreneurs featured in Think Like took their own path. They all came from different backgrounds, had different life experiences, and mastered different fields, meaning you are benefitting from a comprehensive and diverse range of experience.

Building and Nurturing Business For A Lifetime

Once you’ve decided to commit to yourself and your business, you’ll want to make sure that you are working in ways that ensure long-term success as opposed to short-term satisfaction.

Inspiration and Motivation To Create A Bigger Life For Yourself 

 Motivation is contagious. When you read about the work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit of the world’s top 21st-century business leaders, you can’t help but be inspired to make changes in your own life.

Thinking and Acting For A More Lucrative and Rewarding Professional Life

Think Like guides you in creating a mindset and behavioral patterns that are in line with crushing your goals and obtaining personal and professional satisfaction.

Reading Think Like is a great first step towards creating your own path to entrepreneurial success. Learn what worked for household names like Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffet. Choose recommended best practices that fit your goals and capabilities. And then? Get out there and create your future.

For additional advice on leadership and business best practices, check out AaronSansoniTraining.com.au.

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Think Like Spotlight: Oprah Winfrey

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Think Like contains a wealth of knowledge and tips passed down for world-renowned entrepreneurs to readers like you and me. All of the businessmen and women featured in the book followed their own path to success. It stands to reason that they all have a unique story to tell. Each month, I break down a small bit of the entrepreneurial history of one Think Like entrepreneur here on this blog. This month, we’re looking at Oprah Winfrey!

Claim To Fame: The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oxygen Network, Harpo Productions

Entrepreneurial Highlights

Oprah was born in an extremely impoverished area in rural Mississippi and raised in inner-city Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While her early years were riddled with struggle and strife, Oprah came into her own during high school. She began working in the communications and media industry before she graduated, and very quickly made an impression on everyone she came into contact with. She was setting and breaking records by the age of 17.

Winfrey would go on to work her way up the ranks in the media/communications field, capturing the attention of her viewers. Her first entrepreneurial ventures, Harpo Productions, Inc. and The Oprah Winfrey Show, would stem from this success. The widely popular show debuted in September of 1986 and aired for 25 seasons. Although the show was originally typecast as a tabloid talk show, Oprah soon put her own personal brand on every episode. She pioneered a new form of “public confessional” interview known as Oprahfication. The tv hostess moved to own and produce her own show via Harpo Productions in 1988.

Harpo Productions, Inc. contributed to various media and production projects over the next ten years both in and out of the film industry. In 1996, Winfrey launched a book club that changed the literary sales landscape for many unknown authors. 1998 saw her join forces with Geraldine Laybourne and others to establish Oxygen– a women’s cable television network. She debuted her own magazine, O: The Oprah Magazine, in 2000, helped produce a Broadway rendition of The Color Purple in 2005, and started The Oprah Winfrey Network with Discovery Communications in 2011.

Today, Oprah Winfrey is consistently referred to as one of the most powerful women in the world. She influences consumers everywhere whenever she makes an endorsement— a phenomena known as the “Oprah Effect.” And, she’s received countless honorable titles including but not limited to:

  • One of the 100 people who most influenced the 20th century – TIME (2004-2011),
  • One of the most influential people – TIME (2004-2011),
  • Most influential woman of the previous quarter century – USA TODAY (2007),
  • Most influential black person of the previous quarter century – USA TODAY (2007), and
  • Most powerful celebrity – FORBES (2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013).

To learn more about Oprah Winfrey and her success mindset, pick up a copy of Think Like.