Even though Mark Cuban is not technically a military veteran, it’s hard not to consider him an unofficial member of the Vetpreneur tribe (a free online community of military veterans that are entrepreneurs). He’s made no secret of his belief in the value of discipline, personal responsibility, and mental toughness. Cuban has been quoted as saying, “Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is.” Now that’s a sentiment vets can get behind!
Though he ranks as one of the richest people in the US with a net worth of over $3 billion, Cuban — current owner of the Dallas Mavericks — wasn’t born into the privileged class. Instead, he grew up in the blue-collar community of Mt. Lebanon, PA, and made his first venture into business at age 10 when he began a hot trading business in baseball cards.
“I grew up in a working class family. People thought I might go work at a mill. My mom wanted me to learn how to lay carpet because she was concerned about my future. Nobody had high hopes for me. But I was a hustler,” he’s said.
He worked throughout his childhood in a variety of odd jobs such as selling newspapers and working at a local deli. His work ethic continued through college, opening a bar and even teaching disco dancing lessons. From his earliest years, he exemplified the investment in hard work, goal-setting, and grittiness.
Cuban’s a big fan of the military. He once said, “After military service, the most patriotic thing you can do as a wealthy person is pay your taxes.” And he’s also a big supporter of entrepreneurs, having served as one of the main “Sharks” on ABC’s Shark Tank since 2012, investing in 85 deals for a total of almost $20 million.
“I love helping entrepreneurs. It’s something I really have fun doing. It’s like planting a little seed and watching it grow,” he’s quoted as saying. “I love entrepreneurship because that’s what makes this country grow, and if I can help companies grow, I am creating jobs; I am setting foundations for future generations. It sends the message that the American Dream is alive and well.”
And today, just for you, Cuban’s gone even farther to support vets that are entrepreneurs by giving the Vetpreneur Tribe a few precious minutes to answer some questions submitted by the members of our Warrior Council (a paid mastermind group of Military Veteran Entrepreneurs that are serious about business and ready to grow together as a team).
You Asked: What are you doing daily to ensure your growth and development continues as a leader and visionary?
Cuban says he’s a huge believer in learning. He’s said, “I can’t say it enough that learning how to learn is one of the greatest skills anyone can have. It’s why I advocate that everyone go to college.”
He’s also a big reader. In his youth, he was determined to retire by age 35 and looked to books to help him plot his course: “There actually are two books that I bought and still have – Paul Terhost’s ‘Cashing In On the American Dream: How to Retire at 35’ and Andrew Tobias’s ‘The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need’ – that were my personal financial road map,” he told a reporter.
Even now, he told us, “I spend at least 3 hours [a day] reading to learn.”
You Asked: How would a small business get ahead of industry giants to vie for a fighting chance?
Cuban says you need to tap into your inner competitor, something that vets should have no problem doing. “I love to compete. To me, business is the ultimate sport. It’s always on. There is always someone trying to beat me,” he once said.
In other words, “You have to be faster, smarter, and better,” he told us. Get out there, learn your industry, learn your skill, and work your ass off. “I worked hard and smarter than most people in the businesses I have been in,” he said in an interview.
You Asked: In today’s market, what is the fastest way to build your brand? i.e Social Media, local media, word-of-mouth, etc.
Yes, there are so many options available to today’s entrepreneurs. But nothing replaces the basics, says Cuban. “In my opinion, right now there’s way too much hype on the technologies and not enough attention to the real businesses behind them,” he’s said.
What he says Vetpreneurs need to do instead: “[Execute] on a business plan that provides value to a customer base,” he told us. He’s been quoted as saying, “You need to turn over every rock and open every door to learn your industry. This process never ends.”
Hard work. Commitment. A little risk-taking. Sweat equity.
That’s what Vetpreneurs are made of.
Want to take part in Q&A sessions like this one, and be part of an elite group of Military Veterans that are Entrepreneurs all on a mission to create legacies and build empires? Check out our Mastermind, we call it the Warrior Council.
Not quite ready to invest in your business, but still want to be part of a community of die hard veterans coming together to help each other succeed? No problem, you can become part of the Vetpreneur Tribe for free!