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How Do Some People Achieve Financial Success?

The Clifton Review

The Clifton Review is a tri-weekly column that examines the question of the Clifton project along with the evolution of the war between two billionaires. We covered the start of this war with articles describing the battle over easement rights, the mysterious burning of a home, the blocks to rebuilding, and countless questionable court filings. 

The 2018 series salutes fashion mogul Peter Nygård’s Golden Jubilee detailing his rags to riches story and incredible business success over these past fifty years. The Clifton Review will take an inside look at how he did it.

How Do Some People Achieve Financial Success?

By P.J. Malone

How is it that some people are able to make a fortune at what they do and others are not?

Okay, so while some of it may be luck, like “being born in Finland instead of Estonia, being born on the right side of the Iron Curtain, and being lucky enough to come to Canada, the land of opportunity” as expressed by fashion mogul Peter Nygard for example, some of it isn’t luck.

Finance writer Shobhit Seth describes ten characteristics of successful entrepreneurs in an article which he begins by asking the question “Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?” (Investopedia.com December 2017)

He describes the first and most important characteristic as passion and motivation. Seth suggests that it has to be something that you can work on over and over again without getting bored and something you enjoy so much you want to continue doing it for the rest of your life.

In the context of Peter Nygard’s success, it appears to align. Peter Nygard’s philosophy is “The only time you are working is when you wish you were doing something else.” Nygard says he works 16-hour days because he loves what he does.

Apparently this idea of being motivated by your passion can serve you well in achieving your goals.

Another characteristic is not being afraid to take risks. Seth describes entrepreneurs as risk takers who are prepared to dive deep into a future of uncertainty and risk their time and money on the unknown.

When Peter Nygard made a deal to get equity in a company instead of a high salary, that was a big risk. He was investing in a company that was not doing so well; and he was taking a risk on being able to turn things around in an industry in which he had no experience.

It has been said that ‘with big risk comes big rewards’. For Peter Nygard, his big risk paid off in a big way.

Seth also advances the need for being confident and believing in oneself, and the willingness to work hard and have “disciplined dedication”. We already know about Nygard’s fourteen to sixteen-hour workdays and his ‘sisu’ spirit—his ability to “stick with it right to the end”. So that fits with the Nygard story.

The other characteristics the article mentions are being adaptable and flexible, having product and market knowledge, having strong money management skills, effective planning, the right connections, being prepared to exit and having the ability to question oneself.

These all make sense, but sounds a bit too simplistic to explain how one person is able to achieve business success and another is not. If we really took the time to research it, this question would reveal lots of opinions, suggestions, and possibilities. Scientific research on the subject would be even more revealing.

But for our purposes, we will continue with a live case; we will continue to review how Peter Nygard went from a poor boy to creating an almost billion-dollar business as he celebrates 50 successful years in business.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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