As the founder of businesses on multiple continents and across several industries, Luciano de Vries has found success in nearly every one of his endeavors. Behind every company he’s started is a straightforward ideology that informs his plans, keeps him healthy, and ensures he’s constantly learning. His rules for success don’t rely on a complicated algorithm or an all-consuming personal philosophy.
For de Vries, the secret to creating competitive enterprises is simply staying curious, doing good work, and remembering the end goal. He’s also gracious enough to share his top four rules for starting and leading great businesses.
Rule 1: Sharpen Your Mind
De Vries learned this during his college days. While attending university, he took a summer job promoting events. His boss, a serial entrepreneur, recognized the potential of the young student and took him under his wing. As a condition of employment, de Vries was required to read two business books every month and write summaries about them.
It was a habit that changed his life.
In books like The 48 Laws of Power and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, de Vries discovered step-by-step strategies to effect change.
This on-the-job business education felt different from what he was studying in college. In school, he was learning law. Under the guidance of his mentor, de Vries challenged his own understanding of business operations, revealing new ways to think about money, investments, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy.
The only trouble was that once he started, he couldn’t stop. The habit stayed with him far after he left the job. As a result, he’s become a book evangelist. To this day, he encourages the executives he works alongside to make a habit of reading.
“I still recommend a lot of books to people, because with my team, I feel like if you know something, you can do better by sharing it. You don’t need to keep it for yourself because it’s better that others can also learn,” de Vries says. “So, I’ve even written a lot of summaries, and I share them with my people.”
Rule 2: Look Beyond Books
While reading is fundamental for success, it’s not enough on its own. Starting a new business in an unfamiliar industry or expanding your company into a new sector requires the ability to learn from more sources than only books, de Vries notes.
Even in the age of artificial intelligence, books take time to produce, and entrepreneurs need to shoot quickly. Instead of relying solely on well-considered research, Luciano de Vries advocates that entrepreneurs become comfortable making decisions based on incomplete information — and keep track of the results.
Discover when your best ideas spring to mind, he advises. It may not be at the times you expect.
“Most of my ideas come from troubles that arise when doing business or in my personal life,” de Vries says. “I often find that ingenuity comes when we are most challenged.”
While his particular brand of inspiration may not work for everyone, each worker needs to understand what situations bring out their most creative work, and how their team can help them achieve results.
“I usually try to rely on my community and the amazing people I work with to help me brainstorm and problem-solve. I also like to do lots of research whenever any sort of stalling or limitation arises,” de Vries explains. “At my businesses, we are very quick decision-makers, and we have many very keen researchers.”
Rule 3: Create a Routine
Heading multiple businesses is more than a full-time job. But Luciano de Vries manages a loaded schedule by paring down his work to its barest essentials.
“Every morning, before I check my schedule, I figure out two or three big tasks I want to accomplish that day and I write them down,” he shares. “Then I get some easy five-minute tasks out of the way. Then I do a workout. After my workout, I eat my breakfast, and then I walk my dogs around my neighborhood. Once I come home, I settle down to work for the day at my home office.”
The routine keeps him centered and productive. The exercise stimulates his mind, while the repeated behavior pattern allows him to focus on what’s new. Instead of making hundreds of decisions about where to park, when to leave, or where to grab coffee, he relies on the familiarity of his method to reduce decision fatigue.
Rule 4: Develop the Life You Want
Never forget that the point of business is to build the life you want, de Vries stresses.
Luciano de Vries believes that success doesn’t necessarily come from knowing more or seeing more clearly than others. It comes from action.
Being able to implement new ideas and generate novel insights from information is a vital part of achieving success—especially when starting a new company or expanding your business into a new sector.
“If you want to learn, you must take the steps to learn — and it’s not only through reading. A lot of people complain about whatever s–t situation they’re in, but if you don’t act on it, you will not get any better,” he says. “And I think for me reading books is a really good way to learn new things and to write them down and to try to implement them in business or in life. I learned a lot of psychology through books, and if you want to live the life that you want, you need to create it yourself. That’s the most important thing.”