Today’s Show Recap

Thanks for joining us for another great episode of Makin’ It. Let us know what you think of the show in the comments section!

First up, we’re talking about how the richest self-made woman in the world is makin’ it in a big way. Then Tommy and Todd share the five deadly mistakes sure to kill your start up. And lastly, can you put a dollar value on happiness? Let’s start Makin’ It!

Zhou Qunfei’s legendary rags to riches story could be straight out of Hollywood. You may not know her name, but if your reading this on your iPhone or iPad, you certainly know her product. Zhou’s company, Lens Technology, supplies the glass that covers about a quarter of the world’s smartphones and tablets, with Apple and Samsung among her biggest clients.

Zhou started out as a teenager in a watch-glass company, and turned less than $5,000 of seed money into one of the most lucrative businesses in the world. The Lens Technology CEO soared to the top of Forbes’ Billionaires List when she recently took the company public. The 46-year old ranked 205th this year. Now worth over $5.9 billion, with 32 factories and over 90,000 employees, she is the richest self-made woman in the world.

Zhou Qunfei also joins another elite club – the list of billionaires who don’t have college degrees. She joins the ranks of Richard Branson, the late Steve Jobs, Oracle’s Larry Ellison, and celebrity chef Rachel Ray (who has neither a college degree NOR any formal culinary training). Wendy’s Dave Thomas made the list and he dropped out of high school. Does this prove that there is no correlation between education and financial success? Maybe so. Studies show that just under a third of today’s billionaires have ever earned a college degree.

What do you think? Are diplomas overrated or the key to success? Or are there just some people better off skipping academia and diving right in to building a business? Let us know in the comments section.

Makin’ It Fact:
China is virtually chock-a-block with billionaires –
More than 250 on the 2016 Forbes Billionaires list

Next up, we talk start-ups. Failure rates for new businesses are debatable with some industries claiming rates of more than 90%, while others are significantly lower. What is clear is that the odds are stacked against success.

You may wonder why anyone would ever want to roll the small business dice. Apparently you aren’t the only one asking that question. A report by Gallup (the folks that do all those polls) shows that American business deaths now outnumber business births – for the first time in 35 years. They also report that as of 2015, U.S. startup activity ranks 12th among developed nations, behind Hungary, Denmark, New Zealand and Israel.

So how can a passionate entrepreneur beat the odds? Well, tuning into Makin’ It every week is a good start!

This week, we hit our top five reasons why new businesses fail…and ways to keep things on track. One key factor? Know thy customer. Entrepreneur Ryan Memmelaar shared his insights on this topic on a recent episode of Makin’ It. You can listen to the show in our archives.

Your company is more than just a business plan (though that’s important too). We debate detailed plans vs. detailed strategies and why an average strategy that’s well-executed is far superior to an excellent strategy poorly executed.

Tommy and Todd have both benefitted from having mentors, and they talk about some of the things they learned along the way. They both are big fans of Les Brown who talks about being “hungry.” Learn more about Les and his message on his website.

We also discuss whether or not you should have a Plan B – just in case.   What do you think? If you make a Plan B does that mean you don’t believe in your Plan A and you’re just planning for failure? Let us know in the comments.

We wrap up the show trying to put a price on happiness. In 2010, economist Angus Deaton and psychologist Daniel Kahneman released a study that said that once you reach an annual salary of $75,000, additional increases in income do not contribute to an increase in happiness. According to the 2014 census, the median household income in the U.S. is just north of $53,000. Apparently a lot of people have a long way to go to reach their happiness threshold.

Angus Deaton won the 2015 Nobel Prize for his research, but what do you think? Can money really buy happiness and is $75k all that it takes? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Thanks for tuning in to Makin’ It. Let us know what you think of the show and if you have questions about your business, send us an email at or leave us a comment below. We love to hear from our listeners and we read comments on the air. We just might choose yours for next week’s show (so don’t forget to tune in!).

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Additional Resources for Entrepreneurs:

Order Tommy’s new book, The Way of the Rich at,, and

Business plan information from the Small Business Administration

Tips on writing a business plan and sample forms

Tips for finding a mentor

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Check out the Makin’ It website to listen to past shows anytime at

Be sure to tune in every week to the Makin’ It Radio Show on your local station or listen to past shows anytime on iHeart Radio, TuneIn or the Makin’ It Now Archives section on our website at



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