As Wealthbuilders, but especially as entrepreneurs, it is important to remember that we bring value to the marketplace, not time. Our hours put in at work do not matter nearly as much as our value. And when I say value, I mean your knowledge, understanding and wisdom relating to your field in the marketplace. In order to really build wealth and excel in your entrepreneurship, you must start by adding value to yourself. I call it the Law of Change: you must change and grow to bring value to the marketplace.

1. Learning. Try to read something positive and inspirational for 30 minutes every day. If you follow Jesus, that means digging into the Bible every day! If not, then find a blogger whose vision you really connect with.On top of this energizing reading, learn to read 1-2 books a week. Now, most of us think, “Goodnight, if I could read one book a month or even a year, I’d be doing well!” I understand the busyness. But we have audiobooks, CDs, mp3s, iPhone apps, podcasts. Anything that will plant information in you is going to grow you and develop your mind. So maybe a book a week is difficult, but you could listen to a program a week, right?

The point is: if you do this, in ten years you will have read either 1,000 books or listened to a 1,000 programs. You’re making yourself more valuable and that makes a difference.

2. Listening. Find someone who will coach, teach, train, and mentor you. Then listen to them. I always say a poor person should take a rich person out to dinner, pay for a six-course meal and keep them talking. But you can also just ask them out for coffee.

If you see a person you admire, or whose life you envy, offer to take them out so you can hear about how they got to where they are. Come with a list of questions. And most importantly, just listen.

3. Looking. Success leaves clues. One of the greatest mistakes that I made as a young man was assuming how and why people came into success without every really studying the successful people in my life. Through looking we can learn to model people. As we look and we observe, we start seeing how people function and operate. And then we can imitate them.

One of the very first, qualified mentors I had in real estate gave me a secret on how to find out if somebody is taking care of the house they’re living in. He told me that one of the best ways to qualify tenants is to go see where they live (when possible). I asked, “How can I go see where they live?” And he told me to take the lease over, without telling them you’re coming. They let you inside and you get to see how they’ve kept their house.

My mentor had owned rental property for 40 years. He knew something about what he was doing. And I had to learn to humble myself and to observe and imitate him.

Remember that you bring value to the marketplace, and there are always ways to increase that value.

What value do you hope to bring to the marketplace?

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