Lessons From a Young CEO: Sam Winkler of Liquipel

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Sam Winkler knows what it takes to run a company and to build one, too. From becoming a gaming manager at age 16 to becoming a vice president of sales at 19, Winkler helped to found Liquipel at the age of 20 – raising over $10 million before he was legally able to drink. Since then, Winkler has done everything from negotiating millions of dollars in licensing and personally being responsible for over $30 million in sales to bringing on partners like Steve Aoki and Pharrell Williams and starting his new venture, SVN Sound. Winkler told us a little bit about the lessons he’s learned along the way, and how you can apply them to your own business ventures as well.

Put Pen to Paper and Make a Plan

So many businesses fail before they ever take off due to lack of planning. Take the time to sit down — whether you’re writing in a notebook, creating a Google Sheet, or designing a color-coded presentation — and figure some things out:

  1. What is your market?
  2. What are all of the little details behind your business? Write. Down. Everything.
  3. Be strategic about the ways you want to grow, the ways you want to market, and the ways you want to exist.

Find People Who Are Better Than You

Build and curate a team of people who are stronger than you in your weak areas. Is content marketing not your specialty? Bring someone on. Is social media hard for you? Hire someone. Is managing overhead a huge pain for you? Find someone to do it for you. If you’re wanting to manage and run a business, the people around you are by far the most important part of it.

“Surround yourself with good people,” Winkler explains. “Make sure that you listen to everybody, take in advice, and make changes to better yourself.”

Get Your Mind Right

A big part of running a business and managing a team is making sure that everything is right on your end. From making sure you’re getting enough sleep to streamlining your morning routine, figure out what works for you.

  1. Find a pump-up song: Sam likes “Delirious” by Steve Aoki.
  2. Get into a morning routine: Sam jumps on a mini trampoline for five minutes each morning, listening to motivational speaking and staying away from things like the morning news.
  3. Have a ritual. Whether it’s drinking a steaming hot mug of coffee when you get to your desk in the morning or meditating, find something that signals to your brain when it’s time to get to work.

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