I recently traveled to Vancouver to meet with the King of the Internet, Dan Lok. He’s one of the top online entrepreneurs in the world. You’ve probably heard of personal growth guru Tony Robbins. Well, Dan is the “Tony Robbins” of online entrepreneurship.
Dan is a true thought-leader in the personal development and business worlds. He has a massive following of over 3.5 million fans across his social media pages, and they’re growing by the thousands every day. Dan’s YouTube channel has hundreds of videos and over 6 million views.
For years, I’ve followed Dan’s business and entrepreneurial quotes. So, when I had the opportunity to sit down for an interview with him, I jumped at the chance.
I spent the better part of the day with Dan in his sprawling mansion on the breathtakingly beautiful Vancouver coast. This millionaire-turned-billionaire is only 27 years old, but he is wise beyond his years.
A large part of his business philosophy is teaching other entrepreneurs and business owners how to grow their reach. According to Dan, good marketing can span a vast array of fields, into just about any industry.
The self-made transformation of Dan is a story in itself.
Dan came from humble beginnings and rose to his current prestige predominantly on his own. He and his mother immigrated from Hong Kong when Dan was in his early teens. He had a tough transition in school; he was bullied. His mother was a single mom, as Dan’s father had stayed behind in Hong Kong for business ventures.
Today, Dan is so successful that he’s more interested in helping other people find their success. That’s what brings him the most joy, and his commitment to the broader business community shines through.
I want to share some of my takeaways from my conversation with Dan. What he had to say was insightful, poignant and practical, no matter who you are or what your particular business is.
Here’s what I learned.
1. Provide value first.
Dan told me that he regularly has CEOs ask him how they can get as big as he is on social media. His answer is to make sure you are providing value to your audience. This point resonated with me; I’ve focused on educating both existing and potential clients over the whole of my career.
2. Build trust by providing value over time.
These same CEOs come ready with blank checks to buy a status similar to Dan’s, but you can’t buy people’s trust – you earn it over time. Dan has been an online entrepreneur for a decade, but it took him years to rise to his current level of success. Dan made thousands of videos and clips before one went viral; it took building trust in his audience base, and it took time.
3. Don’t hate social media.
For many small business owners, the plethora of social media platforms out there (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter) can feel overwhelming. Years ago, ads in the Yellow Pages were enough. But today, social media is a must and saying you hate these platforms is like saying you hated the fax machine in the 80s. Social media is a tool for information delivery, so use it to communicate your message, provide value and build trust.
4. Content is currency.
Dan imagines that every time he creates a piece of content, he’s depositing into his online bank. And we all know you can’t go into a bank branch and ask for a loan if you’ve never deposited a penny into any account. So, this is how I conceptualize this piece of advice: While we don’t know exactly how markets will grow over time, your content is like a stock that may take off, Apple-style. So, be sure to invest in it.
5. Creativity is king.
In our modern world, where Google has commoditized knowledge, the people who truly succeed are the creative ones. Dan has used his creativity to help many others tap into theirs. Allow your creativity to shape your work, because today, this skill is essential in business and leadership.
6. Your team matters more than you may realize.
Your goal should be to be made better by the people that surround you. The world is so multifaceted, broad and diverse that we all can’t be specialists in everything. Dan’s team consists of people that compliment his skill sets, and so should yours.
7. Aim for significance over material success.
Perhaps the piece of advice that stood out to me the most during our interview was when Dan spoke about the difference between focusing on success to significance. The last time Dan saw his father, he was chasing a big business deal, as he always had. This final goodbye was a painful but important reminder that money pales in comparison to building a real legacy.