De’Andre Salter is an entrepreneur, author and pastor. His book, 7 Wealth Building Secrets, will help reader’s ventures “become a vehicle for doing good things, providing jobs, giving back to the community, and creating abundance,” according to Salter’s website.
RRM: Thank you for agreeing to do an interview with Rat Race Mutiny. Many of our readers want to start their own businesses, but something is holding them back. Perhaps financial concerns or fear. What would your advice be for them?
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. I believe you’ll never build significant wealth working solely for someone else. Gone are the days when you can graduate from college, work for one company and support a family on a single income. Gone are the days when you are rewarded for 25 years of service with a plaque and a gold watch.
My book emphasizes the idea that no one gets rich working a 9-5 job; they get rich working from 5-9; that you need to have multiple streams of income, like an investment portfolio, to thrive in current economic conditions.
In fact, the typical American worker’s tenure with their current employer is less than five years. Surprisingly, the average number of roles you may have over your professional career is seven. These numbers reveal the instability of today’s corporate structure.
We live in a rapidly changing economy which makes it imperative to understand how to diversify your sources of income and be able to “turn on a dime” when conditions change, which they always will. In my book, I remind the reader that they are created with the ability, or potential, to be an effective start-up. The book is filled with examples of people who have prospered from offering their passions and skills to the marketplace.
RRM: What first drew you to business?
There was a phrase most often used to describe how my work would be recognized in corporate America: pay for performance. Year after year I was recognized as a high performer and rewarded well, but not well enough. In one role, I inherited a $130M product line that was losing $15M a year and within 12 months, I grew the top line to $155M and the bottom line to $30M profit.
That’s a $45M improvement, for which I received a $25,000 bonus and a salary increase. Really? The company profited $30m from my hard work and the best they could do was a measly $25,000 bonus. I knew it was time to go my own path, where my work would true be pay-for-performance. Owning your own business is the only way to realize this benefit.
RRM: A lot of people might not realize that you are also a pastor and help direct people in spiritual matters. How does this tie into your business coaching?
There is a significant advantage for me as a pastor when I offer business coaching because it allows me to take a more holistic view of business. In other words, I am not just concerned with helping a small business owner achieve financial profit. Rather, I am more concerned with them achieving a profitable life – family, friends, community, mental and spiritual health. I know that money doesn’t guarantee long-term happiness. Once the euphoria of “making it” wears off, you will have to face the fact that life is still pretty tough, especially in the absence of spiritual or mental balance to live effectively with others during those tough times in life.
RRM: What is the number one mistake you see new business owners make that causes them to fail?
As I often say “Clarity Trumps Cash.” Too many newbies stress over the cash when they should be focusing on making sure they have a clear vision, idea or plan. As an angel investor, I am interested in the person who has the clearest idea and plan and can explain it in a way I can understand. I’d rather invest my time and money with a person who has clarity and no cash than a person who has tons of cash and no clarity!
RRM: One of your wealth-building secrets ties into business philanthropy. Can you share a little more about this concept with our readers?
Business philanthropy is really about paying it forward. I think business owners have an obligation to the world around them to give back their time, talent and money. I love social enterprise initiatives, meaning those businesses which are created for the express purpose of creating jobs in the community and developing new business leaders. The fact remains that most Americans work for small businesses with less than 50 employees, so funding new ones should be the priority of the ultra-successful who have the means to do so. Moreover, it’s just get PR to sow your business success into improving the life of others.
RRM: Starting a new business can be expensive. How can people keep from spending too much of their own capital to get going?
I teach entrepreneurs how to Ask, Ask Well, and Ask Often. Learning the Art of the Ask is the key to attracting OPM – other people’s money!
RRM: Soon, you will offer some bonus content on your website. Can you talk a little more about these videos and what people can learn from them?
I’ve been developing bonus content that complements the book to help entrepreneurs build their life and business. There will be interviews and teachings available on MP3 and video that will provide deeper insights on each of the chapters in my book, 7 Wealth Building Secrets. I’m talking with some of the America’s leading business minds, scholars, executives and entrepreneurs, and making those conversations available as downloadable content to help serious entrepreneurs develop the clarity to attract cash, achieve work-life balance, and so much more.
RRM: One of the things you stress is that you can’t just measure success with cash. Can you explain this a bit more for our readers? How do you measure your own success?
I define my success by the quality of my relationships with my wife and children, my extended family, team members, and the community all of whom benefit from the resources I’ve accumulated. It’s my delight to use them to contribute to their happiness.
RRM: Okay, so even though cash isn’t the complete measure of success, you built Professional Risk Solutions from the ground up. According to 40 Under Forty, your gross revenue is in the millions. What are some of the steps you took to accomplish this?
My first step was prayer, which provides me the direction, clarity and, more importantly, the sense of peace that I need to make all kinds of decisions. We live in very fast-paced times and we often forget to anchor ourselves in a belief system. Doing so guards our ships not only from wear-and-tear that comes with navigating through life but also protect us from being tossed around by every shift in the wind.
Second, it takes both faith and work. I mention them together because you really can’t have one without the other. If you have faith in your plan, then the passion to work should accompany it. After all, who can work hard for a cause they don’t believe in?
Third, my success is as a result of the influence and insights of the great women and men who coached me. Information is everything. The number one problem most people have is that they know what they know and they know what they don’t know, but they don’t know what they don’t know. It’s in that space where breakthrough happens. I have had a lot of breakthroughs by learning what I don’t know I don’t know from great business mentors and coaches.
RRM: Are you still involved in Project Restoration? If so, can you tell us what you do through that program?
The vision at The Tabernacle Church has evolved to offering a Harvest Program, where we provide programs and support to improve the employability of our members. As a result of our efforts, we have been able to keep the unemployment rate in our church below half of the national average. Some of our programs include job placement, career development, skill-building and micro-lending to new business ideas.
Image Credits: Mario Cornejo of MC Productions