Anthony (Tony) Robbins has had his fair share of ups and downs with money over the years.
He’s gone from a cash-strapped upbringing to an estimated net worth of $440 million, and has coached some of the wealthiest people in the world along the way.
We asked the business strategist and author of “MONEY: Master the Game” about the smartest thing he ever did with his money:
“I paid myself first,” he told Business Insider.
“In a nutshell, I set aside a portion of my income to start to build my critical mass,” he says. “I committed to paying myself first.”
He credits part of this commitment to a friend and fellow best-selling author, Ken Blanchard, who he met at a critical time in his life — he was 24 years old, in the middle of writing his first book, and building up his personal brand and business.
“Like most people, I had already heard of George S. Clason’s 1926 classic, ‘The Richest Man In Babylon‘ the day that Ken pulled me aside for a talking-to,” Robbins explains. “I was aware of a central concept in the book: The simple idea of paying yourself first — that is, taking 10% of your income and setting it aside to grow and protect you in the future.
“But Ken connected with me, and imparted a message at this critical time that I was coming into myself as a young businessman — he taught me something that many business owners don’t realize. He said:
Tony, any amount of money that you feed your business, it will eat. So in writing a book, you are doing something here that is outside of the business. You are doing something that is going to support the company hopefully by bringing in new fans of your work, who then maybe engage with your brand, and do business with your company.
Since the company is getting that benefit, make sure you take the profits of your book and set them aside, and never allow them into your company’s account. This is the most important career advice given to me by another man and I want to pass it on to you. Remember Tony: A business is always hungry.
“Decades have gone by since Ken Blanchard spoke those words to me. I now have over 20 companies and I’m actively involved in running a dozen of them. Throughout the years, those words never left me. In fact, they became the basis of financial independence as I know it.”