We’ve recently spoken to Csaba Toth, founder of ICQ Global and author of “Uncommon Sense in Unusual Times”. He gave us some insight on his journey to becoming an entrepreneur and also what the entrepreneurial mindset is.
What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
Adversity and pain were my motivators. I lost my first company because I thought speaking the same language, having lots of qualifications, common sense and good intentions would be enough to succeed. I soon learned that I was wrong.
As it turned out, a lot of people experienced the same issue and they were very interested in fixing it. Our best clients are the people we used to be, and that is what makes you credible. They pay, knowing that you’ve been where they are now and that you can speed up the process, saving them the hassles and frustrations. That is where the value is.
Do you believe there is a pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
It is uncertain if there is one because everybody is different. I learned an important lesson when I started my first business. If you want to scale up your business, self-awareness is key. You have to understand your strengths and where you can add the most value. You might be able to create a solution, but are you the best person to scale it up?
Another focus would be to build a diverse team in an inclusive environment instead of hanging out with people like you. Even if it feels much more comfortable.
Finding complementary partners is crucial. That is why I am lucky to have found Rich, the founder of MOHARA. He understood my vision and provided the technical support I needed to scale it up.
How would you define the entrepreneurial mindset and what are some key characteristics of this mindset?
One of the main responsibilities of an entrepreneur is that they can create and help you visualise a better future as clearly as others can see the past and current problems. It is difficult to create solutions people need and to package it in a way that they want it.
Just because people need something, doesn’t always mean that they want it. Often people don’t have self-awareness. If something is not perceived as too much of a pain point or inconvenience, then they won’t do anything about it. Just because they got used to the pain, doesn’t mean that the damage is not being done. We need to create awareness, to help them realize that this is affecting them.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I honestly could not imagine being in a better profession. We are selling knowledge, relationships, breaking down barriers within and between people. Most of our time, energy and opportunities are lost for two reasons: friction with people who think and behave differently and friction with ourselves, in the form of self-sabotage.
A growth mindset is very important for entrepreneurs. If you don’t believe that tomorrow could be better than today, why would you put the effort into it? You have to think positively and you have to try harder. Believe that you can grow, through adversity.
What if the highest level of growth is when you stop wasting your potential?
The golden rule sounds amazing: treat people the way you want to be treated, but people are different and through this rule, you are assuming that people are like you. That is why we talk about the platinum rule; treat people the way they need to be treated. This requires seeing the world from their perspective. It’s a skill we need to learn.
It is great to see something click and suddenly a mindset and perception shifts. It is not about solving a problem, but dissolving them as they are often based on misunderstanding and the lack of ability to see a situation from different perspectives. We are in the business of saving clients years of hassle, pain and frustration as they can learn from our mistakes and successes. If they don’t want to, they are free to make their own.
What tricks have you discovered to keep you focused and productive in your day-to-day busy schedule?
Tasks are like gas; they fill up the available space. We control most of the deadlines. Treat your businesses like a business, not a hobby, the results are going to reflect it.
Working from home, a lot of people are used to being distracted by other people in the workspace. But now they have to spend time with themselves, manage themselves and motivate themselves. They also have to spend time with their families. Suddenly they realize they don’t know how to lead themselves. This is what’s missing. How can you fix something if you don’t know how it works? We don’t learn about mindsets at school. Your mindset can be your greatest asset or liability. The most important part is to get to know that and get to know yourself.
Remember the last time you had an hour for yourself, thinking about what you want. A lot of people would know what they don’t want, but what about what they do want? We need clarity and vision. The past has meaning and the future has a purpose based on the meaning of the past. Determining that meaning is up to you.
What activities would you recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in to help shape their mindset?
Do things that challenge you to come out of your comfort zone. Hang out with people that are different from you and watch programs that are different from what you are used to, so you can see the same situation from different angles and make better decisions. Just because we think something is true, it does not mean that is the truth, we just like that version of reality. When we have an uncommon mindset, we start to think “What is it that the other person can see, that I cannot?”. Seeing the same situation from different perspectives, that is when diversity can lead to innovation.
Before investing in learning how to manage others, focus on yourself. Let’s be honest, we can walk away from any relationships, except for the one with ourselves, so it makes sense to get it right. It would be really hard to inspire others, sell products to people and lead employees if we cannot stand ourselves, we cannot regulate our emotions and we are grumpy all the time. People can feel the energy, congruence and conviction. There is no shortcut there.
What inspired you to write your book, ‘Uncommon Sense in Unusual Times’?
I wanted an uncomplicated, thought-provoking book people can read to help them realise just because they got used to the pain, it doesn’t mean the damage is not done. Most of the opportunities, time and energy are lost for two reasons: friction with people who think and behave differently, as well as, friction with ourselves (self-sabotage). It is hard to fix and update something if we don’t know how it works. Our mindset as it is is not taught in schools. That is a big mistake and it causes a lot of problems. The book helps readers question some outdated and incomplete ideas. So, they can upgrade them to get better results.
The goal was to build awareness. It is a hybrid book, it has an abundance of resources, an interactive learning platform, an assessment and even a certificate at the end. This is our investment in the future.
We are currently finding ourselves in some uncertain times. What would you recommend entrepreneurs/future entrepreneurs keep doing in times like these?
Keep growing and checking if you are working on a better solution for real problems and customers or if you are falling in love with your product and everything you can do with it. If you do something to your product, make sure that it is based on actual requests and recommendations from clients and licensees.
Have principles and always double-check if you are sticking to them. You want to give your partners as much value as possible, for them to pass it on to their clients.
What does the future hold for ICQ Global?
The goal is to have 1000 licensed partners to transform at least 100,000 leaders globally who would positively impact millions of people at work and home. People are busy, that’s why we make it uncomplicated and practical. Alone we are not smart enough, we are much smarter together.
We are not selling a tool, we are attracting the right partners. Being certified in Global DISC is not just a qualification. It is business in a box, joining an awesome community of people.
As an entrepreneur, what keeps you driven and focussed?
So many people said that being an entrepreneur is too risky. My question is if being an employee is a guarantee for certainty? No, it is just an illusion. Both options can be risky and hard. We choose our pain, we know the price. The question is if we are willing to pay for it. Every decision has consequences even if they are not immediately visible.
I love being an entrepreneur, coach and author. The roles are not always glamorous, not every day. But then, I remember how it felt when I had to work for others, how we have created jobs, businesses we have built through our network of licensees and master trainers.
I also think about what I went through over 10 years ago and how different it could have been if I had known what I know now. Yes, everything happens for a reason. I would not change it now, but I might be able to help others who are going through that now.