Business Success — Lessons Learned from Ivanka Trump

Let me begin by saying I was very impressed with Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter. She spoke at the Dan Kennedy/Bill Glazer Superconference and it was fascinating hearing her take on business. Here are a few nuggets I came away with.

Let me begin by saying I was very impressed with Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter. She spoke at the Dan Kennedy/Bill Glazer Superconference and it was fascinating hearing her take on business. Here are a few nuggets I came away with:

1. You got to really want it. Ivanka is a driven woman. In fact, I would go so far to say she is succeeding despite her father and wealth. She works 3 times as hard as anyone else to prove that she is really is the best person for the job. And she has succeeded.

Now you could say it was easy for her. She has connections, a name, money. However, that’s exactly the reason why it’s difficult for her. People assume her success is due to her family and not her ability.

She could have thrown in the towel, turned into another Paris. Instead she decided to work 3 times as hard to prove to the world she is just as capable as her father at being successful at business.

My point here is that everyone has obstacles. Even if you can’t see them, we all have issues and blocks and obstacles. And we can choose to give in to them or to succeed despite them.

And, we all feel the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Ivanka truly believes her father would fire her if she screws up. (Actually he publically said that in an interview he’d fire his kids if they messed up.) Can you imagine the public embarrassment and humiliation if that actually happened? Sure we can all look at Ivanka and think “oh, she has it so easy.” But if she ends up in the middle of a colossal failure, the world will all know about it and talk about it. That’s not the case with someone less well known.

This is very common in business (well, in life in general) – people assume someone else’s business is a piece of cake while they have to X, Y, Z to contend with. While it’s true maybe that person doesn’t have X, Y, Z, they do have A, B, C, which are just as difficult in their own way. So the best thing to do is rather than wasting energy on comparisons, focus on making what you have that much better.

2. What’s going on with the economy is just a way to make businesses stronger. Okay, she’s 28, which means she was an infant during the last big recession. However, she is learning from her father, who not only lived through that recession but nearly went bankrupt. How did her father handle it? He got up every day and did something about it. He didn’t let the fact that he owed millions of dollars with no way to pay it back stop him. He got up every day and did something about it.

What are you doing right now? Are you sitting there waiting for the economy to “get better” so you can start making money? Or are you going to start doing something NOW to make that money?

Businesses are still making money right now. People are still buying products and services. You can make money, you just need to be smart about it.

3. Find what you love and do that. Ivanka had been offered a very prestigious job in another company after graduation, but wanted to work in the family business. Her father questioned that decision, which for a long time made her angry. However, he just wanted to make sure she was doing something she loved and not just getting a job in the family business because she thought it was expected of her.

What I liked about this story was what it said about both Donald and Ivanka. Ivanka knew she loved construction and buildings, so she designed her career around doing what she loved. Her father knew how important doing what you love is, and wanted to make sure Ivanka was following in his footsteps. Not his footsteps in the family business but that she truly was doing something she loved.

Are you doing what you love? Or are you doing what is “expected” of you? Think about it. Make sure you really are designing a business you love and that motivates and excites you.