Tony Hawk, the professional skate boarder, is undoubtedly an entrepreneur: his businesses comprise a veritable empire, with sales from his clothing line and video game series exceeding $1 billion.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Hawk affirms that there are a few simply rules all aspiring entrepreneurs must follow if they wish to succeed. First, be authentic. Hawk contends that "I never compromised my values or my image," and demanded final say over all his business deals and anything that his brand was attached to. Remember, he counsels, that if you disappoint your customers with inferior products, you could lose them.
Moreover, Hawk believes you must be unique. There are myriad companies selling an endless supply of seemingly identical products so it is important to differentiate yourself from the competition. When Hawk began skateboarding at age 9, it wasn't a mainstream sport so he invented the career path that he has followed.
Lastly, Hawk asserts you must surround yourself with the right people. Hawk avers that he kept his family and friends around him throughout his ascent in popularity. "I never moved into a new realm of people," he says, and instead ensured that his inner circle was never occupied by sycophants, but with people who told him their real opinion.
Ultimately, Hawk argues that if you're unique, authentic and surrounded by the right people, you'll have the tools you need to succeed as an entrepreneur.