Podcast 2: Rafael Badziag on interviewing Billionaires and writing a bestseller

I had the opportunity to interview best-selling author Rafael Badziag about his entrepreneurial experiences, and what he learned while writing the book The Billion Dollar Secret where he interviewed 21 self-made billionaires. 

Check out Rafael’s book here: www.TheBillionDollarSecret.com

Twitter: @BillionairePal

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/rafaelbadziag

Instagram: www.instagram.com/rafaelbadziag

YouTube Channel: The Billion Dollar Secret


Interview Transcript

ANDREW: I am here today with Rafael Badziag, German-based global entrepreneur, TED speaker best-selling author and angel investor. I had the opportunity to speak with him today, just a few days after his book launch, “The Billion Dollar Secret”, where Rafael actually interviewed 21 self-made billionaires and condensed their knowledge. I had the opportunity to read it and check out some of the advice but basically it’s for readers to learn from billionaires instead of millionaires. I just want to thank you for taking the time so soon after your launch and sit here with me in Germany. 

RAFAEL: Thanks Andrew for having me. It’s a pleasure and an honor to be in your podcast. 

ANDREW: You are the second person I’m interviewing, the idea of this podcast is really to find out your mindsets the skills that made a difference in your life, about the things that you’ve overcome and of course talk about the things that inspired you and can offer to other entrepreneurs In the future, especially things like your book. So the first question I have is, I’d love to hear about your first few years at www.raddiscount.de, I believe it was your first company. And just some of the challenges that you encountered in your company. 

RAFAEL: Okay, so.. I founded the company as a hobby project. It wasn’t intended to become a business, because I was a student at that time. Somehow I was looking to apply my knowledge in computer science that I was getting. It was, let’s say, in the middle of the 90’s. I actually went to the States to study at the university there and I realized, the internet was coming at that time. It was actually after Amazon was founded but Amazon wasn’t known at that time. I didn't know anything about Amazon but I could see the first search engines and the internet becoming commercialized, and in Europe we had internet maybe in the universities and students had emails, but there was nothing commercial on the internet. 

I decided when I came back to Germany to actually start the first online shop in sporting goods because my father had a background and connections in the industry. We actually had a little business in sporting goods. Import-export kind of business. And so I wanted to leverage that, the sourcing of the material, and put the technology or use the US technology just to start the first online shop for sporting goods. Which I did out of the dorm and it grew pretty fast so after 1-2 years I had generally to focus completely on, after I graduated, I decided to focus completely on the company. But I didn't have any business education. I am a mathematician. I have a masters in math. So it was good for the technology part. 

But after several years, I realized there is something missing in my entrepreneurial personality. It wasn't that much, now I realize it was also skills, but at that time I thought it was just the personality until that time, I thought if I had the right business model, I will become successful in business and from the outside, it looks like we are a multi-million dollar company. But I was looking into my competition who started later but grew faster and becoming bigger, and somehow they quickly surpassed me and more successful. And I realized we have the same business model. So I realized it’s not about the business model, it’s about the person who actually implements the business model, the entrepreneur. About how you build your company, how you hire people, what kind of people you hire and so on. There are so many elements in business and it’s not only based on your skills but somehow also in your personality: in the way how you approach problems, how you communicate with your customers, with your employees, with your business partners--these kinds of stuff. And I realized, I have to learn more about business. 

So I started reading all these business books, books about personal development, I started going to all these different conferences. And I had this key experience when I was in one of the conferences jumping around with other people, high-fiving each other and telling each other, shouting to each other, “You’ve got a millionaire mind.” It felt somehow awkward for me, it didn't resonate with me. I didn't know what it was at that moment, but after a while of course I realized I have a millionaire mind, I have a multi million dollar company. But it doesn't feel successful, it was a constant uphill battle, firefighting, a lot of stress, a lot of work and at the end we weren’t making the money I was thinking of.

I had ambition to make, I realized being a millionaire is actually not a big deal nowadays. Being a millionaire is pretty average in business. In the states, when you come from the States, one in 20 entrepreneurs are actually millionaires. So let’s say, one in 10 make it in business, they stay over the water. One or two stay over the water are actually millionaires, right? So this is average, this is mediocrity, this is not what it used to be. All these books, thousands of books on millionaire thinking, they don’t bring you to business success or not to the levels I was thinking about. I had to compete with people who were much much better in what they did, than I was. And for that, millionaire thinking just wouldn’t make it. It just wasn't enough. 

So I had to somehow access the knowledge and to twist down of people who were above the level of my competition. It’s always the best to learn from the best in the world. We are in Germany now so a good example is football, for you Americans, it’s soccer. So if you want to play Premiere League or Champions League, would you rather learn from a third league player? His skills, his knowledge won't bring you there. You need to learn from somebody at the top from other premiere or let’s say champion league players or maybe from world champions. 

So in business it’s the same. If you want to develop the best practices, the best attitude, the best skills, learn from the best people in business. And who are the best people in business? Apparently the billionaires, because we have this one objective measure of success in business. This is net worth so the value you have created in your business, success. So more or less after maybe 5, 10 years into my business career, probably more than 10 years, I realized that I need to learn from the billionaires, and this is how I embarked on this journey to write this book as you were mentioning before.

ANDREW: So one of the things I love the most that you said in some of your interviews is that, our limitations we have are just in our minds. They don't actually exist. I am curious to know what mindset helped you kind of go about starting this project and your company. What kind of mindset has changed after talking to the 21 self-made billionaires? 

RAFAEL:  For sure you need a certain mindset to start to embark on this project because it has never been done before. If you look at the probabilities and the odds, you need to realize in the world, only 1 in 5 million people in the world is a billionaire. So the chance is comparable to winning the pot in the national lottery. The main pot, one in 5 million more or less. 

For this book I need to get at least 20 billionaires, to interview at least 20 billionaires so do you know anybody who won the main pot in the national lottery? Common sense tells us this is plain impossible. You need a set mindset to dare to approach such a project. And I didn’t have any connections. I didn’t know any single billionaire when I started.  But I had some previous experiences that made me believe, maybe not believe, but made me think it could be worthwhile and if it succeeds, then of course it’s a great thing. Alone, for that, it’s worth trying. 

So before that, I had some experiences if you would encourage your viewers or your audience to check out my TED talk called “Impossible is Easier Than You Think,” where I talked about approaching impossible challenges, how to approach impossible challenges that made me able  to somehow approach them. So maybe the first experience that I had was running a simple marathon. Because 3 months before running the 1st marathon, I thought it wasn't possible for me. So I realized, but then after 3 months of preparation, after 3 months of training, I could tell you, I found out it was possible. I was watching a TV, there was like a world championship in marathon in Barcelona. I was watching that marathon running, when you watch it, it's really boring. 

But I was blank in the background at that time, I still was watching tv and I overheard an information that we have like two and a half thousand or 2500 anniversary of the original marathon run. It was 2010. I was reminded myself of history, the marathon battle 490 BC so 2010 it’s up to 2500. I always had this thinking, like many people at some point in my life, I want to run a marathon. But you just put it off and off and so on. But then I heard that 2500th anniversary of marathon run, there will be no better opportunity for me to actually run a marathon. I will certainly not be alive when there is 3000th anniversary for marathon. 

So I decided to actually run this marathon that year 2010, it was at the end of August. so the next thing I do, I check out and when you want to run a marathon the best would be to run the original course so what I do is check the original Athens marathon from the town of Marathon to athens. It takes place at the end of November, and we have end of August. So, it’s like exactly 3 months, I had three months left. I had no other choice than to find training program to be able to run a marathon within these 3 months. Which I did. And I prepared and so on. 

At the end I ran the marathon without any problems and something that I considered impossible was in fact possible. So one of the first lessons was most of the things we consider impossible are generally just our thoughts, they are just opinions. It doesn't have anything to do with reality, it’s just our thinking. So we need to actually find out what the reality is. So this is the one thing. And the other thing is that there are certainly things that are impossible for your physically. Like for me 3 months before the marathon, it was actually physically impossible for me to run a marathon at that time. So I would either give up on the way, or maybe collapse, but I wasn't able to run this marathon. 

But within these 3 months, I made the transition but I'm going to the right direction, from something impossible into something possible. I learned that even when something for you is impossible, it doesn't mean it can never be possible. Always and also this dimension of time, you can make something possible within a certain time if you go in the right direction, if you take certain steps. This was my first key experience. 

Then the other key experience that I started 3 yrs later, I started running ultra marathons. Ultra marathons are, as you say it in the States, a completely different ballgame. What you learn with ultramarathons, of course you learn many things, one of the things is that it’s about never giving up. I could tell you, just watch my TED talk, I had this experience during one of my ultramarathons that I was completely knocked out after 32 kilometers. 

So I ran several of these ultramarathons, one of them was 111 kilometers through the Sahara Desert in 40 degrees celsius. In Fahrenheit, it would be over 100 degrees. Due to different unexpected emergencies, I was knocked out after 32 kilometers, so I had like literally wounds on my soles, that was squelching scratching in my shoes. My knee was destroyed, I wasn't able to actually run. I was stumbling through the course. Then I had a jammed nerve in my spine so i couldn’t breathe, I was actually knocked out, I was at the end, I was boiling in my own sweat. 

I was prepared for a crisis after 60 kms or something, but here I was after 32 kilometers I was ready to give up. And then, but in reality I was able to actually run 80 kilometers more. All through, I thought it’s impossible, I mean I have to give up, I’m dying generally after 32 kilometers. There was no way I could run 80 kilometers more, but I did. 

So what you learn at ultramarathons is actually this perseverance. This belief that even if you think at the end of your rope, it doesn't mean it is really the end. You can still go farther, you can still go much much farther, and you can do much much more. So this somehow resourcefulness, getting really deep in what is really possible for you. You extend the zone of your possibilities when you try to approach your limits, or cross your limits. You never really cross your limits, because when you approach them, they expand. So then you can do more and more. Running ultramarathons actually make you realize how much you can achieve in your life. 

Usually in our lives, we are maybe at 1 or 5 percent of our possibilities, it’s easy life we actually live in our daily lives. We are so far away from our limits. If you could force yourself to approach these limits, you can amaze yourself and the world. This project is just an example of that. So the book project we are talking about. So with that mindset, when you approach that, then you can make it possible. It took a lot of setbacks, a lot rejections at the beginning. But if you are persistent, you just don't give up until you succeed. This is one of the things that I learned during ultramarathons and later from the billionaires, maybe in a different form. 

During the ultramarathons, I learned that the people who achieved success are not the people who have the lucky circumstances. They are those who just don't give up until they achieve what they want. So you just stick at it until you achieve it. What billionaires told me is that they never accepted a “no”. So it is the same in business, if you get rejected from somebody, you just work around that, improve yourself, and then you try again. 

I have in my book interviewed Lirio Parisotto, he was actually in the book launch where you were attending as well. And he was trying to convince every one of the big 5 or big 6 film companies to do the distribution of movies through his company because he integrated video distribution business in Brazil. So he was doing like the physical production, the subtitles, the Brazilian version, then they played it on the media then you know distributed it to the customers, invoiced, and everything. He integrated the core business but of course, the film giants they don't want to be served like all of them by the same person. If he is a monopolist, he has too much power in that relationship. Too much business power. So it was really difficult to, for example, to convince Warner Brothers. 

But after 6 or 7 years he convinced also Warner Brothers, all the others, so he kept like over 90% of the business of all the movies that were published in Brazil. They were published through his company. Because he was servicing each and every one of these big 5 or big 6 film giants, so this is what you can also use in business for sure you can do it. 

ANDREW: Absolutely. Throughout the book, perseverance comes up a lot. One of the billionaires you interviewed, he was at the border crossing, saying he was going to mine one the moon, and the border guard actually said I’m not gonna let you in the country because you sound crazy. To me, someone who has never run a marathon, the idea that there’s blood in your shoes, you feel like your knees are breaking and you can breathe right, it’s a little bit crazy and so I think you probably have similarities with the billionaires you’re interviewing, the way you’re willing to go so much farther than other people.

RAFAEL: Yeah, beyond your limits, right? I mean, there is a saying that somehow inspires me by TS Elliott saying "Only those who dare going too far, can actually find out how far one can go." And, you can't explain or you can't expect billionaires to be like average or normal people, because if you were normal, you wouldn't be a billionaire right. You need something, maybe not craziness, maybe something extreme about yourself in order to scale without limits. Because as a normal entrepreneur, let's say I call millionaires successful entrepreneurs or mediocre or average entrepreneurs, When they achieve a certain level, they just stop performing. they say why should I perform, I can live a comfortable life with what I have. My company's making money, I should enjoy my life. But it needs a certain attitude in order to not stop at that level in order to go and scale without limits. To have this curiosity to find out how far you can scale, where the limits are, where is the sky. 

ANDREW: It seems to be about having big goals. In one of the chapters you talked about how millionaires are just comfortable. Their goals are a certain number, a certain monetary number, or a certain comfort level, and when they reach that, they are comfortable and they don't push further. And that's the only separation they have from billionaires. So do you think, you setting these big goals made what have you accomplished what you did in this book? 

RAFAEL: Yeah I think this is something to talk about in this TED talk about doing the impossible things. In this book I describe it as hunger and desire and passion are the three main motivators in business. So if you have this hunger for success pursuing big things, this is one of the right motivations to achieve these things. And this is also something I think the bigger your goal is, the more motivated you are. It also means, somehow paradoxically, sometimes it's easier to achieve big goals than small goals. Let's say it's easier to lose 5 pounds than 20 pounds. 5 pounds doesn't motivate anybody, and it’s then difficult to get this discipline to diet and whatever, to actually lose these 5 pounds. But when you set yourself a big goal, a big hairy goal, let's say running an ultramarathon of 100 kilometers. This is crazy. But this really motivates you. So you have no problem when you have this crazy goal to get up at 5am, and go for training. It doesn't matter if it rains, it snows, you go for training even if it's dark, if other people are asleep.

ANDREW: It helps with the discipline, to have amazing goals.

RAFAEL: It helps a lot. In that sense, it sometimes it's really easier to achieve big goals than small goals. Let's say in this example, you don't need to go to that extreme, but if you have a goal of running a marathon for example. This is also a big goal for most people, but when you have this goal of training for a marathon, on the way to that you will certainly lose 5 pounds. But in my opinion it is much easier to get into training and run a marathon than to force yourself to a diet to lose 5 pounds.

ANDREW: That's incredible. That kind of thinking is different than the way most people think. I think that's one of the powerful parts about your book. But as for me, it's not just about these overarching mindsets, you also have a lot of really specific strategies that I know will help me. I was really curious, what are some of the things that you implemented immediately. Like you had a meeting with somebody, and you were just like, "I need to do this right away." and you did it and you changed your life. I'm just curious if there's anything that jumps out at you that you immediately changed your life when you heard it from one of these interviews. 

RAFAEL: Many things, many things. Maybe I will start with explaining that most of the time I was still travelling around the world. Like last week within 4 days I was in 4 countries, I had this book launch in London, then I was in Monaco, then France then Germany. So most of the time I have been travelling. But nevertheless I implemented some of the things in my business like soft factors that were easy to implement because I didn't have to change any processes and so on. At that alone brought within a year a doubling revenue. This was in multi-million dollar company, so it's not that easy to double your revenue within a year. And we made more than triple the profits. 

ANDREW: What were these changes that you made? 

RAFAEL: It weren't really dramatic changes in systems and process, nothing like that. we have changed the way we perceive ourselves, how we perceive our customers, how we talk to each other, how we talk to the customer, and how we approach problems. Generally there's some strategies from the book but there are also some things I definitely implemented in my life. And in general in business, because this is not the only company that I'm doing. Actually, the business started to explode like the number of opportunities and abundance in my life started literally to explode.

One of the things is this abundance mindset. So I had for a long time kind of had a scarcity mindset. It was one of the things I was investing in, because I was always in this tech or internet spheres. I was investing in internet domains. And in internet domains, when you are a domain investor, you have a scarcity mindset. And this is the same by the way in real estate, like let's say the traditional real estate investment. Because what your mindset is, I reserve an asset that will be needed, like in the best location, and when somebody wants to get into this location, basically I’m blocking this value for me because if somebody wants a shop in that location, I can sell to him or rent it for a high price. So this is the scarcity mindset, they are like scarce assets and you try to somehow take possession of these scarce assets and then leverage on somebody else’s needs for these scarce assets. 

The same is in the domaining, or in the traditional domaining. But then the industry can disrupt it, because these global TLD’s have started to appear, like you can have now domains .bank, .book, .house and so on, .music, .guru. Before that you could only have .com, .edu. Very scarce set of domains. So if I wanted to sell real estate in the states, and I have realestate.com, I was the king for that domain and some would set and speculate the domain to somebody for big money, because this is the only best domain he could have, and there was no other domain he could get. But now, the options for the domain in the market are much bigger, because of these different endings. What does it mean? Some people came into this industry with an abundance mindset and what abundance mindset does is actually not based on the scarcity of the assets. They actually create abundance of the assets, so they create much more options for people to be able to do business, to do whatever they want. 

ANDREW: So what did that look like in your business? What changes did you make regarding abundance?

RAFAEL: So what it means in my business is that I actually started to create opportunities for other people. So not looking at your own perspective on your profits, you start creating opportunities for others, making it easier for others to do business. And this creates abundance in your life. The other thing is also, like how you approach your employees in your company, or how you approach your business partners. I described that in the book. Tony Tan Caktiong, he owns 4,500 restaurants. One of the top 10 best companies in the world. He is also the world entrepreneur in 2009. So the best entrepreneur in that year. Self made billionaire. 

He told me this story about his business. He had a friend with his own business and at this time, his friend’s business was bigger than his. This friend told him, “Why are you paying your people that much? If you pay them less, it goes directly to your bottom line, to your profit.” And the funny thing is, Tony Tan Caktiong became the biggest restaurant company in Asia, and top 10 in the world. And self made billionaire. The other guys company doesn't exist anymore. They went bankrupt. 

This is the same how you approach your partners in business. Do you want to get the last dime in the business, or do you want to take advantage of your position maybe, or do you want a long term relationship with your business partner. And so that you can actually your business in the future and create opportunity for him and of course for yourself. So this is how it plays out in my life, this abundance mindset. The other thing is partnerships. These long term partnerships, sustaining and creating them. This is something I actually learned from billionaires. Sometimes it takes years before they actually came to fruition or somehow pay off, but you don’t approach from that standpoint. I just catch 2 or 3 basic goals. Like an example of that, you know I always say very simple things. I always say to people I am in contact with or I have been in contact with, I always send like seasons greetings for Christmas, like personal messages. It's not like standard copy paste. Now I write something out of my head, something inspirational to greet people 2-3 times, to different occasions. And it pays off, because people remember me. If there is a deal to be made or a business that can be made, they come back and acknowledge me, and so on. For example, I also have quite sizeable community in Poland because I also have a Youtube channel there. This book, The Billion Dollar Secret, I wanted to self-publish in Poland and I took out the rights for Poland. Since you have your own big community you want to somehow take advantage of that. And so a guy came to me approached me after my book launch. Asked me if I would like him to help me with that. This guy is actually in my opinion he is maybe not the largest publisher in Poland but he has an attractive business model which will become the dominator in this market. This is certainly somebody I want to have in my team instead of having him against me. This is also some kind of thinking, some perspective like you are not alone. There are a lot of people in the world. There is every resource you can think of, every type available. Somebody has this resource at his hands. The only way to reach these resources is cooperation. Partnerships. If you partner with that person, you will have access and help each other.

ANDREW: So is it just about having lots and lots of conversations with people? 

RAFAEL: I wouldn't call it a simple networking. I wouldn't, because I don't consider myself a good networker. In spite of what you may be thinking, that I met 21 self-made billionaires, or 30 billionaires maybe that I met, I am not a good networking type because I don't go to these networking events, speak up to people just to chat and so on, but what I think is these general thinking of like partnerships and maybe alliances, and these you have to realize that in most businesses, let's say you're in event management business, there are thousands of companies in the event management business. Most of them they have the same business model. There is really difficulty to bring in something new in the business model. So at the end, who do you think wins? The companies with the best team. Just like in football, if you play against each other, the rules, the training options, whatever, the physical, the laws of physics are the same for everybody. But the best team wins. So, thinking in this method, you need to partner with the best people in order to win in the game of business. Because the best team wins. 

ANDREW: You’ve got a big leg up in partnering with the best people after interviewing these amazing folks! I want to ask a couple of questions about the book. I was really struck by comments about your interviews with these gentlemen and successful entrepreneurs, how they spoke about you. They spoke after meeting with you that they were inspired. Jack Cowin was one of them saying that you went in for 1 hour meeting and you ended up talking for 6 hours. So what do you think it was about you and your personality that has the ability to inspire billionaires? 

RAFAEL: I’m not sure there is anything special about that. It’s difficult to talk about yourself, but maybe I always started the conversation with what inspired me and why I was there. “Start with why” is generally important. What is your mission? Why are you so excited about that? Being excited or being fascinated with what you do, having fun with that, it's a big leg up, a big advantage, as people pick up on your mission. And they want to join you or even to help you. As you mentioned Jack is the most generous person in the world. He has everything, he’s in that stage of the game, as he calls it, when he does not need fame or anything. He helps out of pure humanity, like being human, trying to help somebody, or support somebody because he finds it worthwhile, he finds the mission exciting. Something that is ambitious and valuable. 

So first of all, your attitude. If you are excited about what you do you can be a stamp collector, if you are really excited about that, people can pick up with that, and get excited about you. You just pick up the vibe. So this is the one thing. The other thing is, often, these entrepreneurs as you can see in the book, one of the things is that they read a lot in the beginning of their careers. And some of the billionaires in my book, they were inspired by the same books that I was inspired by. The big example or role model was Napoleon Hill, who 100 years ago had a similar project. He met Andrew Carnegie who was the wealthiest person on the planet at that time. He gave him the mission to talk to the most successful entrepreneurs in the States, introduced him to these entrepreneurs and to find out what in their personalities that made them so successful, to construct the first philosophy of success. Napoleon Hill spent probably around 20 years talking to these people, partly working with them and living with them. After 20 years, he published this great book, “Think and Grow Rich”. My project is the same idea, 100 years later with our contemporary, most successful people, most successful entrepreneurs. They didn't have billionaires at that time, the dollar had a different value, different purchasing power. But today we have billionaires. The most successful entrepreneurs are billionaires. 

The difference between me and Napoleon Hill is that I do it one level higher, on a global scale. Of course, at that time, he couldn’t travel as easily as we can today. So from that perspective it’s easier for me, but on the other hand, I didn't have anybody at the beginning to introduce me to other billionaires. I started with zero, so in that way, it was more difficult for me. But what I wanted to tell you is that these people also read Think and Grow Rich. Jack Cowin is an example, we started talking about these things and he could think back to his first years in business and could see maybe me in himself. So the same things inspired him. So this is the second thing. 

And the third thing is actually maybe something on that level, you need some kind of respect from these people, otherwise maybe they don't have the time to talk to you. So I think me running these ultramarathons, certainly helped to get their respect. Because this was some aspect of life they can't imagine themselves doing. You respect that, you come over as an expert not only as a crazy outstanding performer in some aspect of life, maybe sports whatever, and they are extreme performer in another aspect of life. 

ANDREW: You share those things and you share the comparisons together.

RAFAEL: So this helps for sure, and as I explained during the book launch. You can't buy billionaires’ time. You can't pay hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars for a 2-3 hour interview. And this is what their time is worth. So you need to bring other kinds of value to that meeting. 

ANDREW: For folks who haven't read Think and Grow Rich, and aren't part of that community, or have just heard of the movie The Secret. How do you respond to people who think these books are about magic, and just manifesting things and they will appear out of nowhere? I’d like to hear your response because these books, Napoleon Hill’s, and now yours, have helped me in my life. And how would you respond to someone who just thinks like that?

RAFAEL: First of all, I don't see my book in the same group. This is also one of the major differences between my book and Napol Hill, I don't have anything esoteric. When you read my book there is nothing esoteric in my book. Absolutely nothing. I'm not somebody who believes in hocus pocus, on stuff falling from the sky. So in that respect I'm different from Napoleon Hill. I don't say Napoleon Hill is wrong, or bullshit, it was just a different time. At that time, people may be more responsive to soft psychology, or this kind of inspiration. My book is simple psychology. Everything in that book, you can somehow follow and it's like when you read through that, you realize, “Yeah, it’s self-explaining. Why did I think differently in the past?” There is nothing that is magical, I would say about the book. Of course the results you get are magical. Because most people can't imagine the results that you can get. For example, this is something I was talking about before. If you get close to your limits, you can astound yourself and the world. Several times after my ultramarathons, I had this feeling, I couldn't comprehend, I couldn't imagine how I actually did it. I couldn't believe I actually did it.  You come to that level. 

This is the same in business. The results you get, all of these billionaires, they said they wanted to be the best in their business, they wanted to  grow, to compete. But they never imagined it would come to that scale. To that huge number of stores, restaurants. The billionaire I interviewed from Russia, Sergey Galitskiy, owns 17,000 supermarkets. This is just amazing, this is unbelievable, incomprehensible. So most people think, and this is what I actually conclude in my first chapter, most people in the mainstream think that they need to be in certain circumstances, they need to have great conditions in order to succeed. That they themselves are products of the conditions they were born in, or they exist or live in. This is actually the difference between average people, millionaires and billionaires. What do millionaires think? They think, I have faith in my hands, the only thing I need is an opportunity, some favorable conditions, and then I can take advantage of that. This is millionaire thinking. But what billionaires think, and this is why they become so successful, they think that no matter what I will become successful, or i will do it. The billionaires they didn't become successful because of the conditions they were born in, or they lived in. They became successful despite these conditions because most of the people I described in the book, you wouldn't like to change with, when you look at the conditions where they started from. 

ANDREW: The stories in the first chapter is pretty incredible. 

RAFAEL: One was born in the desert, they didn't have parents. Poverty, violence, partly. They came from some of the worst situations you could imagine, and they made their way through their lives despite all these conditions. And in the end they became winners in their industries or in their lives. So at the end, what I want to say, there’s nothing magical about that. These attitudes that you need to develop that are described in the book, they made you perform on that level, and you have to realize that success doesn't come to you. You need to work for that success, and you are responsible for your success. The results you get, they come from within you and not from the outside factors. So I would say, for the people who would think hocus pocus, or The Secret and stuff, it is called The Billion Dollar Secret but it doesn't have anything to do with the movie, The Secret. It is really simple tangible psychology and is explained in the book exactly how it works.

ANDREW: I was really struck by that, in each of the chapters, the takeaways, the action steps, the specific things to follow. Everything from getting up really early each day, to the way you approach employees. For me, I’ll be honest, I'll be graduating in 3 weeks from an entrepreneurial program, just starting my business in the last 3 months. I’m so inspired by your book and want to jump into your advice but there is so much to do. So if you want to give advice to me right now, there’s so many skills you teach, so many action steps, so many processes that I can see the logic of, and how it would help me. Where do I start, what are the first few steps?

RAFAEL: Becoming a billionaire is never easy. It's always difficult when I get interviewed by journalists. I don't include you here, but they say to explain to me how to become a billionaire into 2-3 simple steps. Impossible. If it was that easy, we will have much more billionaires than we have in the world. I think I wrote the chapters in the sequence that you should proceed in. You can't learn everything, you can't change yourself completely just like that, you need some time for that. 

But I think the sequence of the chapters is right. The first thing is to realize is that it is within you. You are responsible for your results.  Of course there are setbacks and so on, and you need some luck, but as you read in the book, the more swings you take, the more luck you get. The more you work, the more luck you get. But the first thing is to realize this is within you. So if you really internalize that, you can proceed, and then you jump into the water, and you learn to swim along the way. This is also something, as I learned when I graduated from university as well, you have this attitude and you get that in educational institutions, that you need to learn, to learn, to learn, and to know everything, like be prepared for every event or eventuality in order to start. And this is bullshit. This way, you will never start. 

Most people fail in business even before they start because they never start. So the billionaires, most of them just jump into business, into this great adventure, and learn as much as possible on the way. The best way to learn to swim is when you’re actually swimming, then you can improve because you know what's working, what's not working. If you are just imagining things, you can't imagine all the situations that real business and real life brings you. 

So the best school of business is actually doing business. So this is the second step, I would say, and then you start with these habits. Develop the right habits, because, for example, getting up early, gives you much more time, much more focused time on your business. And all these things, apparently sports, or health, you need for better performance in business. Billionaires, they don't do sports it's fun for them, or because others do that, or maybe to look good. No, they do sports because they know health is important for performance, for any performance. 

ANDREW: Got it. So following the process of the book will help me get started. Cause, I will admit, there is so much good advice. The condensed knowledge in this book, it's like reading 4 or 5 books in one.

RAFAEL: What Lirio Parisotto, one of the billionaires, told me, is that the first time he was holding the manuscript in his hands, “Man, I wish I had such a book when I was young, because it would save me reading 20+ books I have read at that time. These business books, you have it condensed in that one book.” and Jack Canfield from my Youtube channel, check out his interview. He said something like, because his son in MBA program, he said, “They don't teach that in the university. This is like an MBA on steroids.”

ANDREW: I can tell you, I’m graduating in 3 weeks from my entrepreneur MSc. Almost all the things you teach in there, we didn't have a class on it. So maybe you can start that next, maybe that can be one of your projects, include this in the curriculum. But to close out, one of your messages were don't learn from millionaires, learn from billionaires. You asked Jack Cowin the same question, and I'm curious what are the three takeaways readers to get from your book? The main message that you’re trying to get across?

RAFAEL: The first one is the realization that success is within you, and don't wait for success to come to you or something to happen, just take fate in your hands. You are the creator of your life and your circumstances. Realize that, and it will help you in business and in life in general. Then for business, I think what I consider very important is that the attitude to mistakes, failures, and risks. This is a complex topic, but you have to realize, there is no success without risks. Most people take only limited risks and most people never leave their comfort zones. They are afraid to take risks. If you don't take risks or you take risks only with limited upside, your success will be limited. This is something to realize. 

Also, and this is connected to that, the attitude to mistakes or to failures. In the educational system, we are punished for the mistakes, or the mistakes you do through your grades or whatever. You have multiple choice test, the less failures or mistakes, the less errors, the better your score. But life and business, they work differently. You get a prize, or you are awarded for taking shots or taking chances, and you are not that much punished by the failures. Actually you have unlimited amount of tries you could in your life, or shots you could take. Most people they don’t take any shots, and they wonder why they don't win, why they don’t succeed. You have to take your chances to try to achieve something. Nobody remembers the failures. It’s enough to be right just once. Just once. When you are right once, you can scale it immensely. So you can take 100 tries, with 100 different business or approaches, and if you find the right one, you will see it explode, then you are on the right path, and you can get it done. So this is the second one. 

The third one, I would say, is constant improvement. Maybe in the States, you have a different culture. In Europe, we have this mainstream culture of getting the formal education and that’s it. You got your education, you think you have learned for your life, now you got to perform to earn, to make your money, with what you have learned. But this is the wrong mindset. This is not what billionaires do. Billionaires actually use the opportunity to learn, and never stop learning, never stop improving. Because this is another thing people don't realize, you don't realize how much improvement you get in your life when you improve let’s say everyday just by 1%. So you have in a year, you have more than 300, it compounds, it’s like you have 4x improvement. In two years, you have 16x improvement. So it's unbelievable what you can do by this small improvements strategy each and every day. And what billionaires do, is they improve their businesses or themselves. They should improve every day a little bit, a little bit, a little bit. In the end their businesses perform like crazy. They outperform everybody and scale to eternity. 

So these are the three, and this is the same as reading books. One of the self-improvements is reading books. One of the billionaires reads almost every day or regularly. Some of them, they have built that into their habits, into their morning or evening routines. This is something that lets you access the wisdom of other people who spent their lives writing down everything that they learned in their lives. This is something most people just undervalue. And so this is part of the constant and never ending improvement. So these takeaways would be the most valuable from the book. But the entire book has 20 principles, and don't think that 2 or 3 will be enough or will let you perform on the billionaire level. And even if you get 20, success in business is never guaranteed. But your chances increase dramatically. 

ANDREW: Well, I have to say, reading this book has definitely changed my thinking and, in the path to self improvement, I have no doubt that it will make a difference in a lot of people’s lives. Thank you from me on behalf of all the folks that are getting your book this week. It's been amazing talking to you. I can't wait to hear what’s next on the horizon. So for folks that are listening I'm gonna a link to your book below and link to your social media.

RAFAEL: I would encourage everybody to also check out my free materials on Youtube, because I talk a lot about these topics on Youtube. I interview on video also these self-made billionaires. There’s a lot of interviews about billionaires, about billionaire thinking, what I have learned from them. I also tell stores that may not be included in the book. Some of them, check out my Youtube channel. When you search The Billion Dollar Secret on YouTube, you will find that channel. 

ANDREW: I’ll make sure to include that line as well, below. And it is a great honor to have you on the show, and thank you all for listening. 

RAFAEL: Thanks so much, thanks for having me here.