Kim Kiyosaki — Author and Founder of Richwoman.com
Financial Education to Stellar Success
By Melanie Rembrandt
It takes determination and courage to become a successful business owner. No one knows this more than Kim Kiyosaki. And her path to success has had its share of challenges… most of them the result of choices she’s made along the way. Kim left a successful marketing career and spent several weeks living in her car (after she couldn’t pay her rent) because she wasn’t willing to give up on a dream of starting her own business. Kiyosaki refused to be told what to do by bosses and family members as she pursued her business dreams. In doing that, she also proved it’s possible to beat the odds.
Today, Kiyosaki is the founder of RichWoman.com, a successful investor, author of the book Rich Woman, which sold more than 100,000 copies in the U.S. and is published in dozens of languages around the world, and a radio-show host in Phoenix who gives women the knowledge they need to be financially independent.
Here, Kim shares her inspiring secrets for success in business and life.
PINK: What is the secret to your success?
Kim Kiyosaki: The number one secret for me is to work on myself. The key is personal development. I can’t change other people, but I can change me. That has probably accelerated my growth and learning which accelerates my success. When I come up against a problem, and it’s not resolving itself, then I look at myself and see what I need to change. I never stop learning.
PINK: How has your upbringing contributed to your success?
KK: I hate being told what to do, and that has driven me. Since I was seven years old, I wanted to be independent. I wanted to learn to ride a bike as soon as possible so I would have transportation, and I got a job as soon as I could because I didn’t want my parents paying my way. I didn’t want to be obligated. I was even fired from one of my first jobs, twice, because I hated being told what to do.
PINK: What’s the biggest concern for professional women right now?
KK: Women need to think bigger. Most women know what they need to do in most areas of their lives, in business, finances, their personal lives, relationships, and more. I think a lot of the fear comes from, “What if this or that happens?” Courage is looking at the situation, looking at what you need to do and saying, “I’m willing to accept the consequences.” If not, you’re going to stay where you are. Fear exists because there is an unknown, but that’s how we grow and learn.
PINK: What do women need to master to be successful in the workplace?
KK: Women need to master their personal financial situation because they can then use all of those skills and talents in their business. You’re going to become a better businesswoman if you have your financial life handled first. It takes a lot of the stress off your day-to-day business because if you know you are financially secure, then you’re going to make better business decisions. Plus, if you’re financially independent you can get up in the morning and work because you want to, not because you have to pay the bills.
PINK: Tell me about The Rich Dad Company.
KK: The Rich Dad Company is a huge global business with strategic partners in cities around the world – thousands of employees of valued partners who share in our mission-driven values and work to grow the Rich Dad business. Our core team at the company headquarters is a relatively small one, but we leverage the intellectual property, the assets, and the brand equity of The Rich Dad Company in ways that make Rich Dad's global footprint a large one.
PINK: What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
KK: I was told not to be the president or CEO of my company and to hire someone for this position. We accomplish this in three ways: we hire people who are smarter than we are, we work to understand the true strengths of those we hire, and we make communication a high priority.
Women often think they have to run everything or train someone for years to take this position. Instead, I hired someone who is an expert in handling the day-to-day operations of my business. Another is to never take on a partner who needs the money. If the partner needs money, then he or she will make business decisions based on money rather than what’s best for the company.
PINK: What’s your leadership style?
KK: I’m very inclusive. There is no such thing as a stupid question or idea at our company, and I’m very open to ideas from everyone. Also, we encourage people to make mistakes. Mistakes are usually made when people are trying something new, and we love that. The key is that when a mistake is made, you need to learn from it and figure out what you can take from it into the future. If our team is not making mistakes, then they aren’t doing anything new.
PINK: What is your biggest weakness as a leader?
KK: Telling the hard truth fast enough. If you don’t have something nice to say, you’d better say it. It’s important to be forthright with people because then they’re going to grow, and I’m going to grow too. And we’re going to be able to resolve situations faster. My greatest mistakes come when I don’t trust my gut, when the red flags go off, and I ignore them. In hindsight of my mistakes, I realize that 99 percent of the time I should have paid attention to my instincts.
PINK: How do you work with a team and help them reach goals?
KK: I take attitude over skill-set, but it’s also important to have the right people in the right positions. And communication is key. Everyone needs to be communicating with each other because without it, that’s where breakdowns and upsets happen. Everyone needs to be included in what we’re doing and be part of the process. Finding the right people and getting them in the right positions takes time, and it’s a work-in-progress. Another key to working successfully with a team is that we don’t allow gossip.
PINK: How do you balance work and life?
KK: It is all interwoven together, but I have found that I do need to take time for myself and get away. I think all women need some time every so often, away from the spouse and kids, to rejuvenate and recharge. Oftentimes, we get caught up in the day-to-day stuff, and we lose ourselves. You need that time alone to rediscover who you are and what you want. I think that time is crucial.
PINK: What is something people don’t know about you?
KK: I took sky diving in college, but then I broke my ankle on my last jump before my free fall. Also, I’m a Jersey girl and a New York Giants fan. Plus, I love Hawaiian food. And I think my true purpose is to show people that life is meant to be joyous.
PINK: Do you have a favorite quote?
KK: “He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Conquering fear is how people grow, and that’s where real personal growth happens. And here’s a fun quote: “Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning, the devil says, ‘Oh crap. She’s up!’”
PINK: What would you like your legacy to be?
KK: That I was happy. I think that if a few people’s lives are better because I was here, than I have fulfilled a purpose.
PINK: Do you have a personal goal you haven’t achieved yet?
KK: I’d like to play golf once a week. When I was younger, I wanted to own a professional football team, but that doesn’t seem like it would be fun anymore. I set goals every year, and it’s time for me to set my next big goal.
PINK: How do you define success?
KK: The definition of fun applies to the definition of success. The definition of fun is achieving your intended goals and wants. It’s self-satisfaction for me. It’s that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and accomplishing what I should be accomplishing and contributing the best use of my talents. I don’t know anything more fun that that. When you achieve and reach a goal, that’s a great celebration.