The Best Business Lessons from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall

When you think of Arnold Schwarzenegger the image that will immediately come to mind for most people is that of the muscle bound Hollywood action star who throws out one liners while dispatching bad guys with gatling guns. Of course most of us know he was also the Governor of California, but the fact that anyone can run for the position means that you might still not take him quite that seriously. He’s just a meat head right?

Well actually, as you’ll see if you read his telling autobiography Total Recall, Arnie is far from a meathead and his successes in multiple different fields are far from accidental. This is a guy with a shrewd business mind who knows how to promote himself and who knows how to make something sell. While he may be no Richard Branson, there’s a lot you can learn from him and that can be applied to your business.

Here we will look at a few of his best lessons…

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Total Recall

1. Springboard

One thing that Arnie did incredibly well was to maximize his successes by using each one to help launch another. When he was successful in bodybuilding for instance, he used this exposure to help promote a mail-order business as well as to launch his Hollywood success – and he did the same when he transitioned to politics. Keep the ball rolling and build on your successes rather than being happy to stop at just one.

2. Taking Risks

If there’s one thing that comes across in his book, it’s that Arnold was never afraid to take risks (or of much else for that matter). He proved this by moving to the US on his own without looking back, but in a business sense he proved it countless times too – such as when he invested all of his money into a piece of real estate – a block of flats that he would then loan out.

3. Turning a Weakness into a Strength

Look at Arnold Schwarzenegger and you’d think he wouldn’t know the meaning of the word weakness. However, as he discusses in his book, Arnie has actually always been acutely aware of his shortcomings but just managed to turn them into strengths.

For instance when he was struggling to break into Hollywood because of his name and accent, rather than changing them he recognized how they would make him instantly recognizable even on the radio before he’d been introduced.

Likewise he realised this when he set up a building company with his friend Columbu – they would argue in Austrian to create the impression one of them was fighting to get the best price for the customer and thus ensure they were very happy with the rate they were offered eventually when the ‘good cop’ appeared to win.

4. Efficiency and Doing Things Right

Arnold’s mail order business was a big success for him and yet another source of revenue at a time when he was also making money from bodybuilding, real estate, acting and building. What made this business work when other bodybuilders failed Arnold muses was most likely that he always delivered the information on time. Many other body builders were ‘lazy’ as he puts it and would get letters from commercial lawyers taking them to court in no time at all.

5. ‘Staying Hungry’

Arnie says the plot and ethos of a film he was in called ‘Stay Hungry’ really spoke to him and his mind set of always looking to the next challenge. It’s what made him such a great bodybuilder, but of course the ideal applies perfectly to business too. Love the challenge, have a good time, believe in yourself… and good things will happen for you.

The above guest post is written by business blogger and expert, Mark Ben.

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