Grant Cardone: ‘Why Try to Make $1 Million When You Can Make $10 Million?’

The real estate investor and motivational speaker discusses taking on the new season of ‘Undercover Billionaire.’
When Discovery challenged Grant Cardone to ditch his money, contacts and resources and try to build a $1 million company in 90 days, he declined. He said he’d build a $10 million company instead.

The motivational speaker, real estate investor, author and Entrepreneur contributor is one of three contestants on the new season of Undercover Billionaire, all racing to grab seven figures first. His opponents are Elaine Culotti, a real estate developer, interior designer, builder and founder of House of Rock, and Monique Idlett-Mosley, the founder and CEO of technology fund Reign Ventures. We caught up with Cardone to see how he approached this challenge, and how his strategy did or didn’t vary from his usual plan of attack.

Did you have a plan, a grand vision of what you became when you first started out?

Yeah, I had a grand vision…rather than build a $1 million business in 90 days, I was going to build a $10 million business in 90 days! 10X goals solve all problems. When the goal is big enough you will figure out the strategy.

Related: ‘Undercover Billionaire’: The 3 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Every Day

Is that how you approach all projects?

It is my belief and experience that most people come up short on their goals and then quit because the payoff is not big enough. 10X is a business strategy, and it is a proven way to solve scaling problems. Most businesses fail because they are too small, they think too small, their reach is too small and their income is too small. Building a 10X business is pure math. Follow the math. Follow the money. Do the work. I am not following my passions or what I love to do or even what I am good at — I am following the goal.

What do you think was vital for you to achieve this level of success?

Courage, creativity, commitment, conviction, consistency and confidence. I know how to grow and scale while being broke because I know it does not take money to make money. That idea is a myth. When Discovery gave me $100, the first thing I did was deposit it in the bank so I couldn’t touch it. I don’t need money to build a business. I need people, not dead presidents. Money is made when you make contacts with the right people who want to make money.

What do you always advise people who are just starting out?

Spend 95% of your time on offense (getting money) and 5% on defense (saving and conserving.) Spend all your time acquiring customers and growing the top line of your business.

Related: This ‘Gold Rush’ Star Wants to Put Himself Out of Business

What do you look for when people are pitching you for investment?

I am looking at the person before the idea, the concept or the proposal. How do they operate? How do they spend their money? Do they own a home, a car, Gucci belts? How do they communicate? What does the deal look like? Do they think big or small? I am measuring the operator more than the investment.

If you were truly starting all over, do you think you would follow the same path?

I would not go to college unless there was a billion-dollar payday. I would only look at industries that have massive payoffs, and I would ignore my passions and what I am comfortable doing and instead figure out how to get into a space that has massive volumes and margins.

Entrepreneurs always talk about embracing failure and learning from it. Do you agree? And does it make it a little harder to do when there is a camera in your face?

I try not to learn from my own mistakes, I try to learn from the mistakes others make. That doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes. I make many, but that is not the way I learn. But when I am starting a business or buying real estate, I can’t afford to make mistakes. I have to make it work. Having cameras on me while I was doing this show just put more pressure on me to perform. No one wants to fail, but no one wants to fail when millions of people are watching.

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