In today’s world, we’re surrounded by innovators and people who want to change the world. Whether it’s about the IT industry, medicine or just giving back to the community, the one thing you can be sure we’ll never run out of, are ideas and I’m sure you have some too. That being said, ideas sometimes are just not enough. What you need to have in your mind is a path. A clear path to get to where you can turn your idea into a reality successfully.
And that’s exactly what these 7 entrepreneurs have done at a very young age. If you were looking for some motivation to get yourself on track, this is it:
1. Jack Kim
At 16, Jack started Benelab, a non-profit Internet search startup. Jack was born in Korea but moved to the USA when he was just in sixth grade. During his freshman year of high school, Kim got into making websites to generate money online. After some practice, he decided to use these methods of generating money online for charity. That’s when he founded Benelab, with six other high school students.
A non-profit search engine designed to make philanthropy easier by generating donations. Just like Google or Yahoo, advertisers pay money to display their advertisements on their websites. And all the income goes towards something good. Although Kim was unsure where Benelab would lead after high school, and is target of $100,000, you can see now that it’s still up and running!
2. Milan Kordestani
Milan, 19, is the CEO and Founder of Milan Farms. He established Milan Farms in early 2015 aiming to create an organic system to raise poultry and grow 100 % pure saffron. How it started was that Milan just wanted consumers to have a pure and honest option when it came to choosing products that went into their body.
He intends to provide an honest option to the consumer with complete transparency as to how the poultry was raised and how it comes to you. Although it’s still just a startup, Milan Farms has expanded to three separate farms distributing saffron worldwide and eggs all across the west coast.
Milan is currently focused on innovating and researching hydroponic, and aquaponics systems with growing saffron and experimenting on different salinity levels to ensure purity and quality of their crops. Now, that’s not something you see young kids doing every day, is it?
“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn
3. Catherine Cook
At the young age of 15, Catherine Cook and her brother Dave, 17 came up with the idea of developing a free interactive online version of a yearbook. They were flipping through their high school yearbook and were not able to get any useful information to find out if they recognized anybody. But it ended up as a terrible tool!
So they decided on making a much better tool to know people by putting it online. With the help of her elder brother Geoff, who is 11 years older than Catherine and was a budding web entrepreneur back then, they created MyYearbook.com in 2005, a social networking site based in Skillman, N.J.
They merged with Quepasa in 2011 which was a $100 million deal, $18 million cash and the rest stock. As yearbooks didn’t matter outside the US, the combined company was renamed to MeetMe to make their social discovery platform reach the world! Perhaps the next Mark Zuckerberg?
4. Rachel Zietz
Rachel Zietz founded Gladiator Lacrosse at 13, an online retail store. She was disappointed with the cost, quality and the lack of selection of existing product offerings. Her company was on track to top $1 million in revenue within less than two years of launching. She made a revenue of $10,000 from her equipment at a local tournament. Her sales reached $200,000 in the initial year.
Running her company doesn’t feel like work for her, she takes pleasure in it. Rachel also made it to Time Magazine’s Most Influential Teens of 2016 and Fortune Magazine’s List of Entrepreneurs Under 18. She has also appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank. So, if you’re having trouble finding clothes you like, why not just build a new brand?
5. Ben Pasternak
Ben, 20, born in Sydney, is the co-founder of the American technology and social media company called Monkey. It was launched in 2016, and acquired by Holla Ltd. in December of 2017. When he was in high school, he created two viral iOS games, Impossible Rush and Impossible Dial. He created Impossible Rush while he was bored in science class at school.
Benjamin Pasternak was described as a young innovator changing the world by Fortune Magazine and was also named one of the Time Magazine’s Most Influential Teens of 2016. As a teenager who cares about the world, he was included in Crain’s New York Business Magazine ’20 Under 20′ list. His app, Monkey, has been used to make over 1,000,000,000 calls and has over 3,000,000 users!
“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” – Scott Belsky
6. Haile Thomas
When Haile was just 12 years old, she founded the Happy organization. Her father was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2 so her mom began researching about how her husband can avoid taking medicines, as diabetes drugs have serious side effects. Haile started watching documentaries on nutrition. She also started cooking vegan meals with her mother. This paid off and her father’s health started improving greatly. This made Haile realize the value of healthy eating.
She then launched Happy, a youth health organization. The Happy Organization provides cooking lessons, informational workshops and summer camps for 6-13 year old kids. Haile Thomas is a vegan chef and youth health advocate. She has given TEDx talks and was even a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama at the 2013 State of the Union Address.
7. Ollie Forsyth
Ollie was picked on by bullies in school for being dyslexic. Being bullied can destroy one’s confidence to the point where they want to end it all. On the contrary, Ollie dug deep to explore the energy to beat all the odds and become an entrepreneur. He started his first business, Ollie’s Shop, an online gift shop, at the age of 13. His shop turned over $18,700 in its first year which has doubled turnover every year! Now, come on, is that not a little motivating?
He co-founded another startup, UniBell – a university platform, where students buy and sell products at the university campuses. At the age of 16, he opened his second online shop, Charmou. Ollie currently has three businesses, an online gift shop Ollie’s Shop, fashion retailer Charmou and a sideline in classic cars.
So, what else?
Well, now it’s your turn. No matter the age, through creativity and innovation, anyone can become a success in business. Challenges can be overcome and the results are amazing as we see in each of the above entrepreneurs’ case. These young entrepreneurs have proved that entrepreneurship has nothing to do with age.
Which of these young hustlers do you love the most and why? Comment below!
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Tough competition can make growing a new brand seem near impossible, despite the hundreds of new companies that are created every day. Creative solutions offer the answer, allowing you to move in a positive direction with your brand start-up at an affordable investment. To achieve this, speed is the key. Growing your user base fast will allow profits to come in fast, too. This is what growth hacking is all about. (more…)
5 Soft Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs to Succeed
There are countless components that go into building a successful company, but soft skills act as the fundamental building blocks of a functioning business. Hard skills are considered to be job-specific, whereas soft skills are interpersonal skills, like listening and communication.
Nearly 93% of employers said that soft skills are an “essential” or “very important” factor in hiring decisions. With the right blend of hard and soft skills, an entrepreneur is capable of great things.
Here are five soft skills that can help entrepreneurs scale their growth and lead successful ventures:
A successful company starts from individual confidence. In order to motivate and inspire others, an entrepreneur must find reassurance in themselves. Other businesses and consumers will believe in your company if you consistently believe in yourself.
Being confident also means becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable— taking risks will expand your business and place you above competitors. As an entrepreneur, and leader, it’s crucial that you not only possess confidence, but exhibit it throughout every step of your business ventures.
It is vital that an entrepreneur have a clear insight into their personality, especially their strengths, weaknesses, thoughts,and emotions.
When an entrepreneur is self-aware, it can lead them to beneficial partnerships and agreements. Without good self-awareness, leaders become easily persuaded and spineless. Self-awareness also includes control. Becoming overly emotional, for example, can lead to detrimental impulsive decision making.
“Self awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong, good or bad.” – Debbie Ford
From the day we begin talking, the ability to work well with others is pivotal to any project. As an entrepreneur, it is important to recognize and understand your own responsibilities. To do this, you must identify your business culture and have tools on hand to manage mutually dependent relationships.
Active listening inspires collaboration within teams and creates learning opportunities. Without open collaboration or sharing and discussing information, the success of your business is limited.
4. Time Management
Time is the greatest equalizer. No matter who you are or what you do, we all have the exact same amount of time in the day. Successful management of that time separates the great entrepreneurs from the bad ones.
Entrepreneurs have many responsibilities; they are often jumping between tasks, hopping on calls, and attending events. They also tend to make every decision within the business.
It is crucial for business owners to find an organization system that works for their company and their goals. Creating a long term road map of company ambitions is an excellent way to distinguish high versus low priority initiatives. Entrepreneurs should create prioritization systems that employees can follow each month, ensuring business targets are met.
“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!” – Tony Robbins
Throughout your entrepreneurial journey, unexpected hurdles and setbacks are inevitable. The process of starting a business will not be perfect. What matters most is how you progress when the outlook seems bleak. Your ability to stay tough and weather the storm speaks volumes to your leadership— and will lead to a huge payout at the end of the day.
Maintaining entrepreneurial resilience throughout rocky times will empower your employees while simultaneously building your credibility. Resilience will also inform potential clients and customers that you are willing to fight through thick and thin.
Soft skills are the backbone of every successful entrepreneur. While hard skills like financing and marketing are crucial to conducting business, soft skills provide the essential groundwork. Developing these soft skills will come with time, mindfulness, and an eagerness to grow. Take the initiative to prioritize these skills in yourself. Once you’ve done that, you can then cultivate those same qualities in your business.
Do you think soft skills tend to be more important than hard skills in today’s business world? Share your thoughts with us below!
The 7 Successful Habits of Entrepreneurs
A while ago, I wrote an article on the 51 mistakes that can sabotage your business. However, that was one piece of the puzzle. You have to run your business well to be a successful entrepreneur, but, what’s more important is that you run yourself so well that your business follows suit. In order to do that, you need some good habits that can seriously boost your chances of success.
Here are the 7 must have habits that most successful entrepreneurs have:
1. Mindfully Meditate Everyday for At least 10 Minutes
Tim Ferris, who has interviewed thousands of world-class performers and entrepreneurs, says that the most common practice of all world-class performers is mindfulness meditation. There are different types of meditation, and each serves its own function.
However, mindfulness meditation is meant for controlling your mind so as to be able to focus more intensely on the task at hand. Higher focus equals higher productivity and becoming more effective at whatever you do.
Working in a distracted state leads to substandard work and also takes up more time. If you want to be able to get in the zone like most top-notch entrepreneurs, you need to mindfully meditate.
Now, there are some caveats you need to be aware of before you begin:
- Like medicine, mindfulness meditation has a minimum effective dose and that minimum is 10 continuous days for at least 10 minutes each day.
- Practice guided meditation before you try meditating on your own.
2. Read a Lot
Warren Buffett was once asked what the secret behind his wealth was. He pointed to a stack of books and said the secret was to read 500 pages like that everyday. Mark Cuban is also a voracious reader and spends almost 3 hours everyday reading in spite of being busy with his businesses. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg also read a book every week.
Now, I am not telling you to read so much everyday but at least make an effort to finish 2 books every month. This is a very common habit among the top-notch entrepreneurs and as Warren says, “knowledge builds up like compound interest.”
Also try not to read on any digital medium except that of Kindle. In spite of it being convenient to read on your phone or tab or laptop, these devices tend to distract us with their notifications and push us to other procrastinating habits.
“So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install a lovely bookshelf on the wall.” – Roald Dahl
3. Keep the Phone Away, aka take a Digital Detox EVERYDAY
With multi-national companies all vying for our attention, we need to learn to use our phones less everyday. While it can be extremely tempting to open your phone while you are waiting in line or are taking an Uber ride, you should resist and embrace the boredom. This has two effects:
- It teaches you to sit through boring and monotonous tasks for longer periods of time and not get pulled away at the tiniest amount of distraction.
- It builds up your will-power and your discipline.
I see a lot of entrepreneurs try to do this and even successfully do this but they don’t build it into a habit. They do it once a week or once a month and think it will have a beneficial effect on their lives. Sadly, just like eating your vegetables once a week is a very stupid idea if you want to live a healthy life, taking a digital detox occasionally is useless.
4. Dump Coffee for Tea
Most Americans are heavy coffee consumers and can’t live their lives without coffee. But wait …The main ingredient behind coffee is caffeine which is a natural stimulant. If you take a stimulant regularly, your body adapts to the stimulant and you fail to get the benefits of coffee such as greater energy and focus which other non-regular drinkers get.
On the contrary, tea’s natural stimulant relaxes your body and enables you to put in more hours of work without the “crash” effect that coffee drinkers face. If you are up to the suggestion of making tea a part of your daily habits, I suggest you try out green tea which has 15% more caffeine than a cup of coffee. It also possesses l-theanine, which helps the consumer put in a greater state of focused awareness into his/her work.
But if you are a newbie tea drinker and can’t stand the taste of coffee (I don’t know how that’s possible though☹), try out flavored tea.
5. Sleep Around 8 Hours Daily
I think the most damaging piece of advice out there is sleep less and do more work. If you do that, all that’s going to happen is that you are going to wake up the next day feeling drowsy. The net result is that your productivity will suffer.
Also, the notion of early to bed and early to rise is not true as your biological clock may be differently tuned than that of others and your biological prime time may be late at night. However, don’t be too late to sleep as that hinders the DNA repair and as a side-effect your mental fatigue remains.
If you can’t get to sleep early, try to not use your phone or watch the TV or any sort of screen whatsoever, as the blue light can slow down your natural sleep cycle.
“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” – John Steinbeck
6. Take Cold Showers
You know what troubles most entrepreneurs? They’re good at planning yet it’s the execution part where almost all of them fall flat. It’s because the execution of ideas throws the harsh realities of the business world onto the face of the entrepreneurs, and they are forced to reconsider if they can actually ever succeed.
It is here that the winners get separated from the losers. And guess what separates them? Willpower. I have the best tactic to help you build it and it’s so simple too! Take cold showers early in the morning or late at night, when it is already chilled outside. If you live in a place that is hot, then this tactic may not have the intended effect on you.
However, try taking cold-showers in the winter. You will see that your brain makes all sorts of excuses so as to not go under the chilling water and if you succeed in pushing your brain to do the work, you will have succeeded. You are then, the master of your mind and not the other way around.
7. Plan and Review Daily
If you want to live a truly productive life and get things done instead of having a mounting pile of to-dos, you need to plan ahead. You need to divide your daily schedule into blocks of time and dedicate tasks to each block.
Parkinson’s Law states that the work we need to do stretches into the time we give ourselves to finish it. Therefore, if you need to get work done and don’t give yourself any time-limit or deadline, you will find your work stretching for enormous amounts of time and eating into the time reserved for other tasks.
However, when you first start planning, you will find most of your plans are utterly useless as most tasks will stretch far beyond the time you have allotted for them. This is where the second part comes along – which is to review the plans and reschedule them.
However, there is a particular style of reviewing and this is how you can go about it. First, you need to make a plan of what you intend to complete in a week and what you intend to complete in a day. Then, before going to bed every night, open your calendar and make a note regarding what you failed to complete today and how you will accommodate them into your weekly goals. This should be done before going to bed daily.
Now, it’s your turn. Share this post and spread the word. What’s the most important habit according to you? Do you have any such habits that you use? Let me know in the comments!
Build Your Business One Brick at a Time
A good friend and business associate once approached us asking for business advice. “I have $25,000,” he said. “How do I turn that into $50,000? Actually—wait, how do I turn one million into two million in one year?”
We looked at each other, and then we looked back at him and said “You don’t take a million and turn it into two million. It’s not that easy. There are no shortcuts in life, and there are no shortcuts in business.” We recommended he do things the old-fashioned way.
He understood—and we understood—that, of course, some people do double their money in the blink of an eye. It’s not impossible, but it’s incredibly risky. And it’s also not what we are about. We’re not promoting the Bernie Madoff model of Ponzi and phony, get-rich-quick deals; we all know how well that worked out in the end. Businesses have to have a real economic model that is built one brick at a time.
Start, Build, Sell
Growing your business is an incremental process: you start, you build, and you sell. You build more, you sell more. If you have a viable product or service that customers want, they’ll come back to you again and again. They’ll also tell their friends.
Positive word of mouth is as important as the product itself, because it helps you continue to grow. As Albert Einstein once said (and Warren Buffet often quotes), “compounding interest is the eighth wonder of the world.”
Buffet, known as the smartest investor of the past century, invests in management teams and products he believes in through his company Berkshire Hathaway. He is also said to only invest in products that he likes and uses, and that fall in his circle of competence. Therefore, as a big holder of both their stocks, you can assume he loves Coke and McDonald’s. He also eats and drinks both regularly. Keep his investment interests in mind as you build your business.
“The only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg
The Value of Viability and Balance
What kind of product or service you decide to build is important, too. You have to be insanely fortunate to have success selling an entirely unique product. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try, but always remember it is easier to sell a product that is easily understood. When you’re just starting out, and even if you’re not, it’s much easier to sell something people completely understand rather than an avant-garde product.
Whatever you want to try in business, whether you have a brand-new type of shop or a nail salon in a strip mall down the street from another nail salon in another strip mall, the essence is the same: work harder, work smarter, and constantly improve.
One challenge you may find at this stage of your entrepreneurial journey is the difficult task of finding balance between preparing and over preparing. As you build and sell, focus on the details, but don’t let them overshadow your big picture.
Spilling the Oil
In The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho writes of a boy who wants to learn about happiness. The boy’s father sent him to the wisest man in the world: the sage. The boy traveled for forty days to reach the wise man, finally finding him in a bustling palace. When the boy asked for the secret to happiness, the sage responded by suggesting the boy take a walk through his palace and come back in two hours.
The sage had one additional request: he handed the boy a teaspoon with two drops of oil and instructed him not to let the oil spill as he walked the grounds. He toured the palace, his eyes never leaving the spoon. When he returned, the sage asked the boy if he had enjoyed the Persian tapestries and the intricate gardens, but the boy replied he hadn’t seen them; his eyes were focused on the spoon. Although he had spilled no oil, he had also seen none of the glories of the palace.
The sage refilled the spoon with two drops of oil, instructing the boy to savor the details of the palace. When the boy returned, he realized he’s spilled the oil, but he was able to describe in detail the colors, tastes, smells of the palace that were beyond his wildest imagination. The sage responded, “The secret of happiness lies in looking at all the wonders of the world and never forgetting the two drops of oil in the spoon.”
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – Paulo Coelho
The same is true in business; keep an eye on both the details and the big picture—neither of which you can do if you’re cutting corners or letting the fear of making mistakes stop you from moving forward. Fail often and fail quick. Learn from your mistakes. And, if you are smart, learn from other people’s mistakes, too.
What was your favorite tip from this article? Share your thoughts with us below!
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