Some Things I’ve Changed My Mind About in Business

Written by Charles Ngo
Written by Charles Ngo

I was listening to a podcast the other day, and the host asked the guest an interesting question:
“What business beliefs did you strongly hold before, but you have since changed your mind about?”
This is a powerful question because shows how someone can adapt and evolve.
I always think it’s dumb when people brag about how they’ve “never changed.”
My core value in life is progress.
In order to make progress, it means I have to get feedback, I need to develop self-awareness, and I need to admit when I’ve made some mistakes. In short, I need to change.
It doesn’t matter if you fall, as long as you get back up and keep moving forward.
Anyway, I’ve been in the business world for twelve years, and here are some of the beliefs that I’ve changed my mind about.

Running Multiple Businesses is Overrated

I’ve always admired entrepreneurs like Richard Branson and Elon Musk.
It’s one thing to create ONE successful business. Someone must be amazing if they can create multiple ones.
So if someone is running so many different companies then they must be operating on God mode.

And there’s a lot of benefits with diversifying your income, and even synergy among the businesses.

That mentality is why I decided to expand beyond just running affiliate campaigns the past few years. I pushed a delicate balance the past few years by running this blog, working on campaigns, and facilitating my training programs.

However, I’ve changed my mind about that.
It’s hard to run more than one business effectively.
Anything that makes money is going to have competition.
If you’re giving something 25% of your attention, it’s hard to compete against someone giving 100% of their focus to that same thing.
People love to use the examples of Elon Musk and Richard Branson, but not many of us are those guys.
Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg focus on one thing and they’re doing pretty well.

I think the hardest thing in business is to stay focused on the path. Bright shiny object syndrome is everywhere, and the grass is greener on the other side right?
Why do we want to diversify? Boredom is a big one. If you stick with something too long it can be boring. Another big one is fear.
You’re not confident that your main business is strong enough, so you hedge your bets.
Imagine if If you had a company doing $10m+ a year. Would you feel the need to diversify? Probably not.
But you need to give 100% if you want to hit those big numbers.
I think a better approach would be to go all in into one thing that you feel you can be the best in the world at. There’s usually a lot more juice to squeeze.
Bonobos is a successful clothing company. Their secret? They spent years mastering Chinos. They needed to master Chinos first, before they diversified into other pieces of clothing. Most people try to diversify before they master anything.
If you want diversity, then try mastering one thing. And then use that extra cash flow to invest in an index fund or some real estate. 
How many companies you run or how many employees you have are just vanity metrics.
It’s better to aim for being the best at one thing than to be average at many—or even just a few—different things.

Equity’s Not Everything

One of my favorite business books ever is “How to get Rich” by Felix Dennis. The chapter that stuck with me the most is the one in which he talked about the importance of equity.
He argued to never, ever give up equity. Fight for every percentage.
So over the years I’ve turned down deals because I didn’t feel like I was offered enough equity for my effort.

And I’ve seen other people lose great media buyers because they didn’t give them enough profit share.
Huge mistakes.
In the case of media buyers:
Would you rather have 50% of someone generating $100k a month, or  would you rather have 100% of nothing?
Would you rather have 1% of Amazon, or 100% of a $10,000 a month Amazon FBA business?
These are extreme examples, but you get the point.
I had lunch with someone once who’s a deal maker.
He has around 5% equity in a ton of different companies. He doesn’t invest any money to get that equity. Instead, he just gives them really good advice.
I asked him why he only asks for 5%. Why not be more involved and try to get more equity?
Because more equity means more responsibilities. He wants more money, not more jobs.
You can’t just look at equity as simply a percentage of profit you’re giving up.
Facebook gave up equity when they took in their first investors. But that first round of investors, including people like Peter Thiel, brought in their network and their expertise in order to help Facebook grow.
I remember one of my friends telling me about how often he’ll do a joint venture partnership with someone even if he won’t make that much from it financially.
For him, the upside is developing a closer relationship with a person, and he learns a lot from working with them. Sometimes that’s more valuable than money.

Building a Remote Company vs. Building an Office Locally

I’ve been back and forth on this for the past decade.
I had offices when I lived in Atlanta and Miami. In Asia and New York City, I preferred working remotely.
I don’t think there’s a definite answer to this, but I do feel more and more companies are becoming remote.
For me personally, I think I’ll only build remote companies for the rest of my life.

  1. You can hire people from all over the world

Depending on the area you live in, it might be hard to find good talent.

  1. You save a huge amount on overhead

Office rent is expensive.

  1. You get “deep work” in.

I think ultimately this is why I prefer remote. I have Slack off every morning and can work undisturbed.
Of course, remote isn’t always the best.
Some people aren’t capable of working remotely. They’re too easily distracted at home, or they’re just more powered by being around people.
And the company needs great project management to keep everyone on board.

There’s Always Money to be Made

In the past, I always believed that there was always money to be made. A talented entrepreneur can make money in any market, at any time.
Blaming “trends” is for the weak!
Oh, how wrong I was.
I had a conversation with someone who helped develop courses for Cryptocurrency. In 2016-2017, they were printing money hand over fist.
Their funnels, sales letters, and webinars were horrible. But the market was so hot that it didn’t matter.
They took some of their profits and re-invested in funnel experts and some of the world’s best copywriters.
But then the Cryptomarkets crashed.
Despite their processes and everything being better, they couldn’t beat a cold market. It was like they were swimming upstream.
So whenever you’re starting a business or thinking about a new idea, think about the trends.
Imagine trying to start a video rental store in 2019 in the age of Netflix.
I think that’s what it means when someone gets lucky in business. They stumble upon a “trend” or a “wave” and aren’t aware of it.


It’s interesting to think how life would be differently if these mentalities were ingrained in me from Day 1.
As I gain more experience, it’ll also be interesting to see what other things that I’ll change my mind about.
But that’s progress—evolving your own ideas and beliefs.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you agree or disagree with my conclusions?
What are some things that you’ve personally changed your mind on?
Featured Image by Zimmytws

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                The posts published by Charles are prepared and analyzed, including the author’s own experience…

The posts published by Charles are prepared and analyzed, including the author’s own experience…

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