7 Life Changing Lessons I Learned from Having Coffee with a Billion Dollar Entrepreneur

coffee with a billionaire

I was sitting quietly behind a table in the Marquis Marriott Hotel in San Diego’s Marina. 

Despite the picturesque view of the bay and laid back atmosphere of the hotel’s common area, my heart was beating as if I were I being chased by a pack of angry Hyenas. 

Although the unexpected jump in my blood pressure could have been chalked up to the 7-plus cups of coffee I’d consumed that morning, the real reason for my nervousness was the man sitting across from me.

To the outside observer, he was unassuming and seemingly unintimidating. 

His suit, although crisp and finely tailored wasn’t anything special 

There was no Rolex on his wrist nor any other visible sign of wealth.

But looks can be deceiving. 

Because the gentleman in question was none other than Sharran Srivatssa, the entrepreneur responsible for growing Teles Properties 10x in 5 years… From $350 million to $3.5 billion (no, that wasn’t a typo).

And, for the next 15-minutes, he’d agreed to sit down with me to share the wisdom and life lessons he’d learned on his journey from a broke immigrant with less than $100 to his name to one of the world’s leading entrepreneurs and the CEO of a company that spent 4 consecutive years on the Inc. 500 list.

And today, I want to share some of those lessons with you to help you think, act, and perform like a billionaire. 

Sound good? 

Then let’s get started. 

1. Success Requires Simplicity

The first and, possibly most profound piece of advice that Sharran shared with me is that “Success becomes easier once you simplify”.

With the myriad of skills, resources, and connections that most of us believe are required to achieve success, it’s easy to get so lost in complexity and overwhelm that we fail to take action on anything.

We get stuck in the mud, endlessly spinning our wheels without making any real progress because we’ve bought into the lie that success is complicated. 

Success is simple once you accept how hard it is. 

Craig Ballantyne

What I learned from Sharran (and many of the other amazing entrepreneurs at The Perfect Life Retreat) is that success is, counter-intuitively, quite simple. 

Instead of looking at the endless list of things that you think are required to work less, earn more, and live your Perfect Life, sit back and ask yourself:

“What would this look like if it were simple?”

If your goal is to earn more money from your coaching business while decreasing your workload, you might think that you need a fancy sales page, detailed email autoresponder, and thousands of dollars to dump into paid traffic. 

But what if you didn’t? 

What if doubling your income was as simple as asking for referrals from your existing clients and increasing your rates by 30%? 

If your goal is to lose 20 lbs. of body fat and double your energy, you might buy into the hype that you need to adopt the Ketogenic diet, train for 2 hours a day, and take 52 different supplements a day a la Dave Asprey. 

But what if all you needed to do was to skip breakfast, wake up at the same time each morning, and walk for 35 minutes a day? 

When you take the time to step back and break down your goals into their most basic components, you will quickly realize that success, in any area of your life, is often simpler than you ever could have imagined.

So take a minute right now and ask yourself, “What feels complicated in my life and how could I make it simple?” 

And, more importantly, what specific action can you take in the next 24 hours to make it simpler? 

2. Accept Your Limits to End ‘To-Do-Listitis’

There are few things with which I’m more obsessed than productivity (except for coffee and my dog).

I’ve spent thousands of dollars and countless hours scouring the internet to answer the simple question, “How can I accomplish more in less time.” 

So, when presented with the opportunity to interview such a prolific and accomplished entrepreneur, I jumped at the chance to ask him about his “secret” to getting more done.

Much to my surprise, his answer had nothing to do with to-do lists, weekly plans, environmental optimization, or Italian economics. 

In fact, his advice was the polar opposite of what I expected. 

He said simply,

I treat every task on my to-do list as a promise to myself and I’m obsessed with keeping my promises. I’ve learned throughout the years that the fewer promises I make and the more I accept my own limitations, the more productive and successful I am.”

The more I thought about it, the more I realized just how profound this statement is. 

All too often, we overestimate what we can achieve in a given workday, leading to feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and general frustration. 

We bite off more than we can chew and schedule more in an afternoon than we could reasonably accomplish in two days. 

By accepting our own limitations, we are forced to consider what is truly important and engage only in the tasks that will, as Sharran says, break the needle in our life. 

When we commit to fewer tasks, we are able to accomplish the most important things with greater ease and efficiency, creating a sense of progress and momentum in every area of our lives.

So let me ask you… Where have you been over-extending yourself and making promises that you’re unable to keep?

What seemingly essential tasks are you scheduling that you can either delegate or eliminate entirely so that you can work only in your area of genius? 

Once you’ve identified the “fluff” in your schedule, ruthlessly hack away at the unessential until you are left with only the most valuable priorities and activities that will lead to real progress. 

3. Build Your Business Around Your Life (Not the Other Way Around)

When I think of individuals who have created billions of dollars of value in the marketplace, I typically envision a hard-charging Gary Vaynerchuk-esque entrepreneur putting in 16 hour work days and hustling 7 days a week.

So you can imagine my surprise when Sharran told me that he takes every Monday morning off. 

“Why is that?” I asked. 

He shrugged nonchalantly and replied, “Most heart attacks happen on Monday mornings… And I don’t want to have a heart attack.” 

As funny as this comment was, it illustrated a much deeper and more important point that colored my entire conversation with Sharran. 

Build your business around your life instead of your life around your business. 

Having spent the past 5 years working with and for some amazing entrepreneurs, I’ve noticed that one of the leading causes of entrepreneurial burnout and depression is misalignment. 

In other words, we all claim that we want to start a business so that we can have more time, freedom, and greater control of our schedules… BUT whenever we are faced with the realities of being a business owner or high-income freelancergrandiose it’s all too easy to start working in our businesses instead of on them.

What I learned from Sharran is that lasting success and fulfillment aren’t achieved in spite of building an amazing life, but because of it. 

By prioritizing your family, health, personal time, and hobbies first you actually allow yourself to tap into deeper levels of creativity and productivity because you enter into your work days from a place of passion and aliveness instead of dread. 

Craig does an excellent job of addressing this issue in his essay on the Perfect Week Formula and, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend that you check it out to learn the exact method that high performers use to structure their week’s so that they can get more out of their life and business.

4. Master Your Nights to Master Your Life

Morning routines are all the rage in 2018, and it’s easy to see why.

The way that you spend the first 60-90 minutes of your day has a profound impact on the mood and quality of the rest of your day. 

However, the way that you prepare for those mornings the night before is just as (if not more so) important.

One of the best productivity tactics that I learned during my time with Sharran is to create a powerful evening ritual that helps you unwind from a long day of work and mentally prepare for the following day.

While Sharran prefers to conclude his nights by completing a “brain dump”, writing out his plan for the following day, and visualizing himself successfully completing all of the items on his to-do list, there are a plethora of habits and strategies high performers use to optimize their nights. 

For example:

  • Taking a 15-minute Epsom salt + coconut oil bath 
  • Journaling and reflecting on your day
  • Writing out and visualizing the achievement of your biggest goals
  • Doing 10 minutes of yoga
  • Reading a novel or biography 

There’s no right or wrong way to create an evening routine (except for spending the final hour of your day on social media!) so test out different habits and tactics until you figure out the exact routine that works for you.

Start small and focus on the final 15 minutes of your day before gradually working up to a more comprehensive and in-depth routine that leaves you feeling relaxed, restored, and primed for a day of total domination. 

*Hey! If you’re enjoying this article so far, I want to encourage you to check out Sharran’s Instagram and subscribe to his VIP list for weekly wisdom on life and business straight from the man himself!*

5. Self Knowledge Unlocks the Doors to Success

Know thyself 

The Oracle of Delphi 

At this point, claiming that “Self-knowledge is the key to success” is almost a cliche.

It’s a well-intentioned statement that is generally followed by a complete lack of practical applications or concrete action steps. 

However, when Sharran shared with me the importance of self-knowledge his approach was (refreshingly) different. 

Specifically, he encouraged me to pursue self-knowledge in three realms:

1. Professional Positioning 

“Most people are enamored with the idea of being an entrepreneur but fail to realize that their personalities don’t match up with the demands of being #1. I have many friends who realized early on that they worked better as the right-hand man or consultant and, as a result, earn far more than the average CEO”

Sharran Srivatssa 

What is your ideal professional position?

Are you detail oriented, highly organized, and extremely practical? If so, you might function best as a COO, running the day to day operations and executing on the grandiose visions of others.

Are you a big picture ‘dreamer’ with a penchant for persuasion and leadership? Then you would likely be more suited to the role of President, CEO, or Founder. 

Do you dislike working for others and managing employees but have a high income skillset that the market needs? You might make a terrible CEO but a fantastic freelancer or consultant. 

The bottom line is that everyone has different talents, skills, and natural proclivities with regards to their professional status.

By figuring out where your area of genius lies and going ALL in on it, you will set yourself up for a lifetime of success and fulfillment even if you don’t pursue the most glamorous position.

2. Learning Style

The most successful people in the world are all voracious learners. 

However, each of us has a slightly different learning style and way in which we internalize new information.

If you want to reach the highest levels of success, it’s important that you identify and capitalize on your learning style as soon as possible.

When you figure out how you learn, you directly increase your capacity to learn, allowing you to shave years off your learning curve and achieve the results you desire faster than you ever thought possible. 

3. Workplace Styles and Habits

I’m going to let you in on a little secret… You ready? 

Not every so-called “success habit” works for every person. 

Some people, like Craig, are superstar early risers, who are able to wake up before some of us have even fallen asleep and DOMINATE their days. 

Others, like the “4 Hour Emperor” Tim Ferriss prefer to do their work during the darkest hours of the night, writing and creating content until the sun rises and sleeping well into the afternoon. 

Some people see massive improvements in their mental and emotional health by adopting a traditional meditation practice. 

Others opt for an alternative mindfulness practice like walking, running, long baths, or monotonous tasks. 

The bottom line is this…

Although you should incorporate the principles of successful individuals into your daily routines (e.g. exercise, mindfulness, planning, boundaries, etc.) the specific tactics and strategies with which you incorporate those principles are not set in stone.

Figure out habits and routines that work for you and go all in on them. 

Don’t feel pressured into following a specific morning routine or ritual just because some successful person somewhere on the internet does it. 

Do what works for you and ignore what doesn’t. 

6. Work in Batches 

If you want to save 20 hours a week and make more time for your most important tasks, Sharran shared a simple but powerful trick for doing just that. 


The premise is simple. 

Most people’s days are all over the place. 

They might spend their mornings writing, their afternoons handling coaching calls, conducting podcast interviews, or answering emails, and their evenings working on product development and copywriting.

However, when you engage in so many disparate tasks throughout the day, you are forcing your brain to “change gears” and losing valuable productive time trying to switch over to new tasks and activities. 

By batching all of your similar tasks together, for example doing ALL of your blogging on Monday or hosting ALL of your podcast interviews on a Tuesday, you allow yourself to get into flow and become infinitely more productive and efficient. 

Right now, pull out a sheet of paper and write down all of the tasks for which you are responsible each week. 

Now, go through that list and figure out which tasks you can batch together to reduce mental fatigue and increase efficiency. 

Once you’re done, commit to testing this strategy out for a week. 

I promise, you’ll be amazed by the results. 

7. Give Massive Value with No Expectations

Ironically, the most important lesson that I learned from Sharran wasn’t something that he explicitly shared. 

It was simply the way he acted. 

Sharran is one of those rare individuals with a heart of gold who is willing to give MASSIVE value with no expectation of receiving anything in return. 

He didn’t have to sit down with me and give up 20 minutes of his valuable time so that I could interview him for this article. 

He didn’t have to speak at the Perfect Life Retreat as a free gift to Craig. 

Heck, he doesn’t have to do 90% of the things that he does on a daily basis to serve the world and help other people replicate his success. 

But there is no doubt in my mind that the #1 factor for Sharran’s impressive results is that he gives extraordinary value every chance he gets.

Yes, it’s important that you have firm boundaries and know how to say “No” to opportunities that don’t serve you. 

Yes, it’s important that you excise toxic people from your life and surround yourself with more positive people. 

And yes, it’s important that you guard your schedule and understand how to prioritize your own time and your own goals first.

But it’s also important that you take every opportunity that you can to offer value to others and uplift those around you. 

It doesn’t have to take long or cost you a dime. 

Simply giving someone your undivided attention for 5 minutes can change their life. 

Sharing a smile or short conversation with someone at your local coffee shop can brighten their day and lead to a domino effect of kindness. 

And taking advantage of every opportunity that you have to provide value to the world while expecting nothing in return can and will transform your life from the inside out. 


Although the seven lessons shared above might seem simple, step back and ask yourself, “Am I actually doing these things?” 

The difference between success and failure is rarely information. It’s implementation. 

So my challenge for you this week is simple. 

Take ONE of the lessons shared above and commit to implementing it every single day for the next week. 

If these are the strategies and tactics credited for generating billions of dollars in revenue, I promise they can make an extraordinary difference in your life. 

Now go out, take action, and dominate your week. 


Use this millionaire-vetted Morning Routine to earn more, work less, and live your perfect life TODAY! 

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Austin Gillis

After dropping out of college at 18, Austin set out to travel the world and turn his passion for sharing big ideas through writing into a full time income. Today, he's succeeded at his goal and is the Editor for Early to Rise, Director of Content for Knowledge for Men, and a highly sought after freelance writer whose ghost-written work has been featured on Forbes, The Huffington Post, Inc.com among other major outlets. When he isn't exploring new cities, writing game-changing content, or devouring his latest stack of books, you'll find him kicked back in a hammock on the beaches of Mexico with his girlfriend and two-year old Pomeranian, Zelda