Richard Lorenzen has become known in tech and digital media circles across the U.S. as a power broker of New York public relations. He’s become an ambassador of sorts of New York PR to tech and startup hubs around the world. Tech moguls and startup founders come to him as their conduit to the high stakes world of New York media and the national stage. The firm he founded, Fifth Avenue Brands, which specializes in data-driven PR, serves clients in a myriad of industries and has been recognized by media as a thought leader on digital media. They also have a fantastic guide for small businesses on public relations strategy.
Richard himself as a young entrepreneur has been recognized as a leading voice for entrepreneurship, especially for millennials, speaking at conferences and schools across the nation. We sat down with him this week to get his advice on what it takes to make it as an entrepreneur.
What was the most important character trait to your success?
There are probably a lot of character traits that are interdependent on each other, but if I were to single out one attribute that has significantly helped me, it would be discipline. You need to have the discipline to sacrifice, persevere and stay focused on your goal.
What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
More than I can count! As entrepreneurs, we face obstacles every day. Our job is to solve problems. The bigger the problems you can solve, the more successful you will become in life. They can range from criticism of your product, people problems within your organization, people problems outside your organization, the list is endless. So first I would say to expect obstacles and not to be surprised or intimidated when they inevitably arise.
Second, I’ve found that the most successful people look for an opportunity in every obstacle we encounter. Almost every problem has a silver lining. Training your mind to find it will make you very successful.
Third, no matter what obstacle you face, it’s not about whether you are smart enough, wealthy enough, connected enough or any of those factors. It simply comes down to how long you have the discipline to persist and persevere for. You can find your way through almost any problem and come out on the other side if you hang in there long enough.
What habits does an entrepreneur need to develop to become successful?
The first step is probably to recognize habits that are holding you back. We tend to have a lot of these as humans. Seeking instant gratification, not controlling our minds and our tempers, not staying focused on a singular goal, these are all problems and they need to be fixed and replaced with habits that are conducive to success.
The habits that have benefited me most over the years have been:
Waking Up Early
Spending at least an hour per day reading (or finishing at least 1-2 books per month)
Reviewing my goals and my plan to achieve them every single morning and night
Prioritizing my schedule and to-do list for the day and only focusing on high value tasks while delegating the rest
Drinking lots of water— no soda, coffee or alcohol
If you at least start consistently practicing these, you will definitely see results. You’ll be more focused, more productive and you’ll move the ball down the field a lot faster.
Do you follow a specific routine every day?
I follow a specific routine in the morning and again at night. I find that to get the best results, I need to start the day and end the day right. This includes getting up early, spending time reading, reviewing my goals and then beginning my day. At night it includes reading and reviewing my goals again before bed. For entrepreneurs, it’s much harder to control what happens in between the morning and the evening each day. When you’re running a company, every day is going to be different and lots of things will come up unexpectedly that need to be handled. It’s very hard to control every moment of your day. But if you nail the beginning and the end right, it keeps you in control and at peak performance.
What’s one mistake you see entrepreneurs make repeatedly?
Not focusing on one goal and venture. Entrepreneurs tend to suffer from shiny object syndrome— every time a more attractive venture comes along, they jump ship from their current one and leap to the next. I see many entrepreneurs that give up far too soon because they haven’t seen results yet. They start and end businesses like they are changing clothes. With this mindset, you’ll never succeed at any of them. Once you choose a venture and commit to sticking to it long term, no matter how tough it gets, then you start to see success.
What excites you right now?
Online media and the power of social media. There has never been more opportunity for people to leverage digital media to monetize virtually any niche. Going forward, content will become more valuable than ever before so if you aren’t creating and producing it and owning a platform for it, you are going to miss out. Video particularly is about to blow up bigger than we’ve ever seen.
What does your average day look like?
I spend a significant amount of my time traveling, but no matter what city I am in, I try to stay pretty consistent. I’m awake by 4:30am every day. I spend my morning reading and writing and then reviewing my goals. When I’m in New York, I’m at my desk by 6:30am. Most of my day is spent communicating with people, whether it’s in person, by phone or by email. I spend a lot of time in the back of a Suburban going from meeting to meeting and staring into my iPhone emailing, texting and reviewing work. My phone has a lot of mileage on it! By 6:30-7pm, things begin to quiet down a little. I spend the evening with my fiancee, Pinsi, who also runs a digital media company, and our dog.
I can see from your social media that you are traveling almost constantly. What are your favorite places you’ve been to?
Los Angeles is my second home. I love how it’s a different lifestyle from New York and it’s also my ideal climate to live in. Other favorites would be Singapore, Tokyo, Guam and Washington DC.
Where do you see your company going next?
2015 was a record-breaking year for us and now we are already on track to surpass that in 2016, which is exciting. We have opportunities right now to work with so many other talented successful people, which is the best part of the job. We are looking forward to all of the potential that holds for us in 2016. We are also very excited about where digital content and video is going and being a part of that massive growth with our clients.
What do you do in your spare time?
Play golf and travel to warm climates.