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Why Serial Entrepreneur Ettiëne Pretorius Says TV Is Killing Your Chances of Success

Ettiëne Pretorius on why not watching TV has opened his time to focus on content that feeds his subconscious and leads to better business decisions.

Tracy Lee Nicol

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Ettiëne Pretorius is a real estate developer, serial entrepreneur, author and international speaker. Having made his first million at age 21 through property development, by 27 he had completed developments worth R35 million.

Five years later he’s far more successful, and carries ABSA’s Top Entrepreneur award, and two International Businessman awards. He’s now focusing his attention on educating others on how to feed their brains with the right information and foster attitudes to better approach markets.

Related: 7 Insanely Productive Habits of Successful Young Entrepreneurs 

He’s rubbed shoulders with Richard Branson, Eric Trump (Donald Trump’s son), Steve Wozniak, Jack Welch, and has spoken at South Africa’s Success Summit.

Ettiëne, you don’t watch TV, listen to radio or read newspapers. Why?

The turning point in my life was when I realised your reality is created by perception, and perception is powerful if you know how to use it.

When you’re a child you have no frames of reference influencing the way you think, and the possibilities are infinite. But as you grow up, more and more restrictions come into play. Once your mind is restricted and you stop learning, that’s when you stop winning.

I realised it would be important to re-programme my subconscious.

For me, it’s about feeding my subconscious specific information based on my strong suites. Decisions made unconsciously are 1 000 times faster as they’re gut reactions.

That’s meant not watching TV, listening to the radio or reading newspapers. Instead I listen to audiobooks of inspirational people, which feeds my brain with information I find more useful in business.

How does it make you better at what you do?

Being an entrepreneur is about making solid, strategic decisions. Sometimes you’re able to make those decisions based on the information you have, other times you’ve got to go with your gut.

You’re not going to be able to trust your gut unless you know what’s in your subconscious: Are there self-limiting beliefs? Is there conflict between your needs and your awareness? Are you making decisions based on your passions and life purpose?

Because of the informative and positive material I feed my subconscious, I have confidence in my abilities and my decision-making skills. I stay motivated and inspired by removing the element of uncontrolled and negative news we’re constantly bombarded with.

Surely removing yourself from current affairs would affect your ability to do business?

When your perception creates your reality, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in the broader scheme of things, I’m ultimately responsible for creating my own economy.

If there are 1 700 units being constructed, I need to figure out how to get 10% of that regardless of the bigger picture.

It’s about identifying an opportunity, doing local sub-market analysis, influencing that market, creating a market share, and then creating a new perception.

Related: The Work Habits That Will Make You Successful

Tracy-Lee Nicol is an experienced business writer and magazine editor. She was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rhodes university in 2010, and in the time since has honed her business acumen and writing skills profiling some of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, franchisees and franchisors.Find her on Google+.

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Lessons Learnt

Give Your Business The Best Chance Of Success

For that to happen an entrepreneur must distil the business’s reason for being and then doggedly pursue that vision.

Gil Sperling

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In my capacity as a business owner and venture capitalist, one of the questions I get asked most often by entrepreneurs is, “how do I ensure my business succeeds?” While there’s no straightforward answer, there are important elements that I believe every entrepreneur must consider to ensure the greatest probability of success.

Firstly, no business will succeed if it doesn’t solve a unique pain point or problem for modern consumers or businesses. However, even if a business is able to carve out that niche, there’s no guarantee that growth will follow. For that to happen an entrepreneur must distil the business’s reason for being and then doggedly pursue that vision.

North Star metric

This principle of having a clear business vision guides all my decisions. Whenever I need to validate a choice or a change in strategic direction, or if I’m trying to determine what to focus on, I always refer back to my vision. If the two are incongruent, then I know I need to change tack.

Elon Musk is a great example of a successful entrepreneur who is guided by his grand vision. Everything he does, from Tesla to SpaceX, pertains to sustainability, both for the planet and the human race. It might be hard to make the connection when you consider his various businesses out of context, but everything he creates fits into a broader ecosystem that in some way moves the needle towards his ultimate objective. Developing Tesla cars that run on renewable energy is but a small, short-term plan that feeds into his grand vision, yet it’s also been the catalyst for the evolution of the motoring industry.

Related: The Popimedia (Mega) Success Story

Be clear, concise

In the same way, every decision an entrepreneur makes should in some way take them a step closer to realising their vision. In this regard, it is also vital that your vision is crystal clear – a murky or undefined vision will divert you off your path to success.

That’s because you’ll tend to focus on the wrong things, especially when scaling rapidly, or when running bigger organisations, because there are many tasks to complete every day. A lack of clarity also leads to poor decision-making, or, worse, decision paralysis, and that’s business suicide – I’d rather make a bad decision than no decision at all, because it prompts action. However, with a clear vision, more often than not, those decisions will be correct.

Defining your vision

So, how do you know if your vision is clear and, more importantly, relevant and consequential? The way I stress test my vision is to evaluate it every day against the decisions I take, and the direction of the business. This daily process helps to sharpen my decisions over time.

The other step is to remain open-minded enough to accept and acknowledge criticism, and take on board advice from trusted confidants and impartial experts. This is important, because you need to craft your vision based on as much information as possible, including valid criticism.

Ultimately, though, your vision for the business should align with your purpose. Forget about money and turnover as points of departure when defining your vision. These are merely metrics that can determine the strength and effectiveness of your business strategy.

For each of my several business interests, be it VC funding or ad-tech innovation, I have different visions. Each are meaningful to me, but in every instance, I don’t wake up every day with the sole ambition of making money.

While I need to make money to grow these businesses, or build something new, having purpose and vision are the ways I pull through those inevitable challenging situations. Having your vision front of mind in everything you do helps you make better decisions, and makes the hardships easier to endure. It helps you see through the turmoil, because you know where the process will lead, and you always know where the ultimate objective lies.

Read next: A Comprehensive List Of Angel Investors That Fund South African Start-Ups

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Lessons Learnt

Jimmy Choo’s Co-Founder Explains Why There Are No Small Jobs

Tamara Mellon shares the strategy that has helped her find new opportunities throughout her career.

Nina Zipkin

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The co-founder of Jimmy Choo, Tamara Mellon, believes that you can find inspiration and opportunity anywhere. All it takes is determination to keep going and a keen eye for observation.

Mellon began her career in the early 1990s working as an accessories editor for British Vogue. Always on the hunt for up-and-coming designers, she came across Jimmy Choo, a cobbler working in London’s East End.

She would commission him to create shoes for fashion shoots. They were so well received by readers that the pair realised they could expand beyond one-of-kind pieces for the pages of the magazine.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Lessons Learnt

6 Habits Long-Time Millionaires Rely On To Stay Rich

It’s a simple fact: Most millionaires have different habits than the average person. However, these habits are far from inaccessible; they improve one’s odds of finding success but can be adopted by just about anyone with a bit of concerted effort.

Timothy Sykes

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To take that idea one step further, once someone has become successful, how do they stay successful? Here, I’d like to take a slightly longer-sighted look at the habits of millionaires, focusing not just on the habits that make them successful but the ones that help them stay successful over time. By cultivating these habits in your own life, you’ll be investing in your own sustained success over time.

Here are six habits of long-time millionaires:

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