When I was 21 years old, I believed in an idea that would change the world.
It was an idea that seemed too far-fetched, but still seemed possible if I was willing to work steadily toward it. This particular idea was simply about the teachings that were omitted from our educational system.
After reading as many books as I could find, I learned quickly that there were many subjects that schools didn’t teach. They included the following subjects: Time-management, earning money, making decisions, setting goals, building and maintaining relationships, etc.
Because I devoted myself to this simple idea, it made me a millionaire by age 24. In my personal life, I’ve found that there were ten strange secrets about millionaires. Once you see these common trends, you’ll be able to leverage all your current opportunities.
1Become a Student
In every spare moment I had, I studied these subjects voraciously, seeking precepts that aligned with the truth. When I commuted to work, gym, and school, I would listen to audio programs, absorbing as many ideas as I could about these subjects. I also attended 20 seminars in my first year.
My mind started to change as I looked at myself and those around me. I realised that I wasn’t satisfied with my position, but how would I change it? Even though I was in college, I wasn’t sure if school was the answer, especially since I wanted to start my own business.
2Decide to Do Something
I had to make a decision. Soon after, I quit my MBA programme and began giving hundreds of free speeches. I did whatever I could to get the word out. In my first two years, I spoke at more than 500 live events, most of which were unpaid engagements.
Even as I worked 18 hour days for 7 days a week, I was sick to my stomach about how I would be paid. At the time, I lived off of credit cards and peddled my book in speeches. In some instances, I sold my book door-to-door. I also became a master salesman when I sold everything in my house!
3Do Whatever it Takes
I thought success was for older people. Since I was in my early 20’s, I wasn’t sure if it could happen. The majority of audience members were twice or three-times my age.
I thought they knew much more than me, but I still showed up. Most of the time, I drove over two or three hours to get to my speeches, even dealing with snow or torrential rainfalls.
One time when I visited New York City, I gave a speech to one old man. When I came out of the speech, I found out that my car had been towed, which cost me R3 000. What’s more, I was deeply saddened to find a R5 000 parking infraction on my wiper blade for making in an illegal spot. Essentially, I waited all day and paid R8 000 to give a speech to this one old man.
4Paying the Price
Between my speeches, I would sweat in my used wool suit and tie as I knocked on doors to sell my book. The people at most homes would shut the door as I pitched my product, if they answered at all. I would sell five to ten books per hour, but it was brutal. At the time, I thought the task was never-ending, despite the decent profit.
Another time, I had to give five speeches on four different subjects. That day, I was awake from 4 am to 6 am – a 26 hour day. I had no money or food, but I had common sense. Since most hotels served hors d’oeuvre while they held their networking functions, I ate their “freebies” whenever I could find those meetings.
5Competence Breeds Confidence
Within a year, I went from stuttering, stammering, and stumbling with my words to giving a 20-minute speech without notes. As my competence grew after every speech, so did my confidence. In my second year, I was able to masterfully give all-day seminars to hundreds of people at a time.
Soon enough, my financial situation got better and I didn’t have to use credit cards anymore. However, I would still be late with my bills every once in a while, which drove me insane. How did I work all day, but not make ends meet? Why didn’t I have a surplus for my services?
6How to Increase Your Wealth
Because of this immense struggle to support myself, I began a side business, Dignify Designs, which took off faster than I would have expected. The idea came when I did a lady’s resume for free. After she secured her job, she only paid me R250, but told all of her friends about me, which brought me new clients.
As my company grew, I hired a dozen people in my first year. Between speaking and writing, we helped many people write and publish their books, create websites, and utilise social media. Since forming the company, my team has branded thousands of people who’ve been able to start and grow their businesses.
7The Legitimate Dilemma
During that time, I had a legitimate dilemma: Should I grow Dignify Designs to a multi-million-dollar business or should I pursue my purpose of spreading the message about true education?
The answer was BOTH. As I funded myself with Dignify Designs, my income exploded, making me a multi-millionaire in the process. Of course, as a byproduct of my success in business and my experiences, I was also highly sought out as a speaker, since people loved my speeches, articles, and videos.
8Big Breaks Will Come
Along the way, several big breaks came when I started writing, speaking, and consulting on bigger platforms. Instead of reaching hundreds or thousands each month, I was now reaching millions. It was a dream come true, especially after all the blood, sweat, and tears.
Eventually, the grind paid off as a multitude of people started coming to me. It was a great relief and I began to realise my value to society. Because of these expanded opportunities, it has given me to privilege, power, and platform to share my passion with as many people as I can.
9Money Follows Passion
I learned that when you do what you love, the money will follow. When you start reaching for people’s hearts, rather than their wallets, you’ll be more successful. Love has a very attractive force that magnetises people in your direction. Love and money go together. In fact, money is the highest expression of love.
Fortunately, I have the privilege to work at any time I want. I can afford to sleep in on most days and even take a year or two off. However, it came at a great price that only few people are willing to pay. When you do what you love and love what you do, you’ll have more freedom than what money can buy.
10My Biggest Secret
No one knows what is yet to come in the future. We can only go as far as we can see. However, you must have faith in yourself, your community, and everyone else. You must believe in yourself and know that everything that you want (and more) will happen in your favour, as long as you believe it.
How do you find the answers in life? I can tell you what my biggest secret is:
Trust in a power that is greater than yourself.
It’s a simple answer, but it is the truth. Once you do, you’ll never be afraid of pursuing the impossible because you know that everything will work out in the end.
If you believe in yourself, everyone will believe in you.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Taking It To The Malaysian Market – Karl van Zyl Of Antipodean Café
Karl van Zyl approach has always been logical and simplified and he highlights three principles that he believes to be critical in the food and beverage industry.
Karl van Zyl has a 17 year history in the food and beverage industry in South-Africa and now applies his skills and knowledge in the extremely vibrant and competitive Malaysian market. I had a very interesting conversation with him to explore both similarities and differences of both markets and to share his accumulative learning of this industry to those entrepreneurs considering to open a restaurant or café.
He has a history working for the Mikes’ kitchen and Fishmonger groups in South-Africa fulfilling a range of roles from being a General Manager to Operational Manager. Currently he both manages an well-known Café called Antipodean and facilitates the opening of new cafes’ in Klang Valley, Malaysia.
Karl shared that his approach has always been logical and that applying sound basics has always served him well. Would you eat the food served at your restaurant and really enjoy it? Posing questions such as the aforementioned to yourself as a restaurant owner or manager helps you to be aware of the quality of your operation and to always keep the customer in mind when making decisions.
One of the key learnings that he shared was to get a very good and experienced team of waiters together that has previous restaurant or hospitality industry experience. He strongly advises quality over quantity when it comes to waiters and fondly remembers one of the waiters that he managed whom could take orders from a group of twenty people and remember each order from the top of his head.
It is not only about quality of service to the customer but also when there is a small but quality team of waiters operating then their earnings are much higher and they will feel valued and happy as opposed to a large group of waiters competing for relatively small rewards.
Karls’ approach has always been logical and simplified and he highlights three principles that he believes to be critical in the food and beverage industry:
- Quality of food
- Quality of service
He adds that in addition to the above principles your location should of course be in area with very good ‘foot traffic’.
When the entrepreneur venturing into the food and beverage market considers the right suppliers it is a critical factor to go and visit their facilities, thoroughly check their quality and enquire which other quality brands they are supplying in addition to buying at good prices.
In his view comparing the Malaysian food and beverage market to the South African market there are a lot more Malaysians eating at restaurants than in South Africa. One of the reasons for this is that there are a lot of ‘street café/restaurant’ options with quality food at a very low price due to the restaurant not being air-conditioned and making use of for example plastic chairs and tables.
Personally the author has found much more twenty four hour food options and countless varieties of food compared to the South African market. If you are awake and hungry at 3 am in the morning in Kuala Lumpur, no problem! You also will not be limited to only 24 hour fast food options, almost any type of food that you desire will be available that is if you know where to go off-course.
As a matter of interest Karl regards the prices of restaurants in general in Kuala Lumpur to be better than in South Africa and holds the service levels in KL in higher esteem due to it being more ‘personal’ and customer orientated. He believes that South African food matches the quality of Malaysian food but that there is however much more variety of food available in Malaysia.
Karl pointed out that it is possible to have people from all five continents represented in one night at a restaurant as the food culture in Malaysia is very diverse and so is the cultural phenomenon in general in Kuala Lumpur.
What Comfort Zones? Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable Says Co-Founder Of Curlec: Zac Liew
Zac Liew was offered to be CEO and Co-founder of Curlec at the age of twenty six and took up the offer knowing that he would be engaged in a steep learning curve. Curlec is a FinTech company that is redefining the customer experience for Direct Debit.
Botanica Deli, Bangsar South, Malaysia a vibrant environment where a number of entrepreneurs and office workers go to meet and have great food and coffee. I walked into the Deli to meet a man that might just possess the ‘entrepreneurial gene’ if indeed that gene exists.
Zac Liew always wanted to venture onto the exciting yet challenging playing field of entrepreneurial ventures having his dad and mother as examples. His father a lawyer, whom ventured into property development and his mother whom started the first chain of liquor stores in Malaysia.
His parents’ ventures interested him from a very young age and helped to ignite the entrepreneurial fire in this very young CEO and co-founder of Curlec. Zac is a qualified lawyer whom also did a stint in the banking industry but at all times he had a burning desire to do something entrepreneurial and always had an interest in tech.
To him tech was always logical and simply made sense within this ever changing business environment within which we as entrepreneurs launch our start-up ventures. He also enjoys the challenging demands that the tech environment places upon his problem solving skills.
The Creation of Curlec
Zac Liew was offered to be CEO and Co-founder of Curlec at the age of twenty six and took up the offer knowing that he would be engaged in a steep learning curve. Curlec is a FinTech company that is redefining the customer experience for Direct Debit. They are the first Malaysian software company to enable online Direct Debit payments in Malaysia. One of the core principles that Curlec was founded upon is to Build great tech that solves a basic need.
Zac together with his co-founders Steve Kucia and Raj Lorenz found a simplified and effective solution to collecting money on a recurring basis. Normally recurring billing and collections is a big issue for SMEs’ and other options were exceptionally costly and timeous.
Zac pointed out that the size of the issue of recurring collections exceeded all expectations and that is one of the reasons that their start-up phase has been successful and gained very good traction in the market.
Curlec has a razor sharp focus on only two products which enables them to focus on giving a great service and customer experience. Curlec cuts through the normal levels of bureaucracy of big companies and has a laser focus on their customers.
How does this apply to start-up entrepreneurs?
Create a product or a system that is simplified, very user friendly, cost and time effective, and more importantly that solves a very challenging issue within the market place that adds great value to customers. Underpin this by being customer centric.
I asked Zac to enlighten me on the key learnings of his journey thus far and also share success principles that has served him well in business and in his life in general. He pointed out that he believes that every entrepreneur should get comfortable with being uncomfortable and venture outside the boundaries of their own comfort zones.
‘Be comfortable with making mistakes’ he says. Get feedback learn from it and integrate the useful feedback in your thinking and in practically applying solutions.’
As business and life has a natural and general ebb and flow to it persistence is a key factor to your success. Accept challenges as they occur and realise that the mind of the entrepreneur should always have a problem solving focus. As a fan of combat sports, Zac shared the following quotes that resonates with him:
“The more you seek the uncomfortable the more you will become comfortable” – Conor McGregor
“I have been training under the dark lights so that I can shine in the bright lights’ – Anthony Joshua
As a writer I have always been fascinated by the wisdom imparted by philosophers and masters of their respective fields. I am even more excited and hopeful for our future when I hear wisdom ‘rolling of the tongue’ of a twenty six year old entrepreneur:
‘Be idealistic in your ideas but be pragmatic in actualising them. If things are not working out do not be stuck in that. Take what you can learn from your experiences and move on.’
Tech has the inherent power to reach the far ends of the world seamlessly and when we have more and more tech entrepreneurs solving big consumer issues and thereby making this world a better place we can be more and more hopeful of a better future.
Don’t Be ‘Outside Standing’ On Your Own Exponential Growth Says Serial Investor, Jimmy Phoon
Serial investor Jimmy Phoon is proud of his and his team at Alps Global holdings in achieving a $300 million valuation.
It was a usually warm and humid afternoon in Malaysia as I walked into the foodbar at Fashion library in Kota Damansara, to meet a man who has a deep understanding of leveraging capital mechanisms in order to achieve exponential business growth.
Serial investor Jimmy Phoon is proud of his and his team at Alps Global holdings in achieving a $300 million valuation. He doesn’t speak to the ‘wrongs and rights’ of investments as he believes there are many ways in approaching an investment opportunity. He does however, firmly believe in the MOC (Miracles of Capital) organisations’ (of which he is a senior alumni member) approach to exponentially grow a company and having a clear exit strategy such as selling at a desired price or publically listing the company.
Jimmy enthusiastically highlighted the difference between them, as he names it a ‘feasible’ and a ‘bankable’ business investment. In offering a simple differentiation between the two terms he explained that ‘feasibility’ simply means that the business is making money, whilst ‘bankable’ means that the business is not only making money but that there is a clear succession plan and exit strategy in place.
As an experienced international entrepreneur and investor he recognises that a vast number of entrepreneurs are very well versed in the market mechanisms of their respective industries yet not equally adept at the capital mechanisms that underpins the exponential growth of companies. He points out that when a company has very good management in place, has a clear and attractive dividend policy to its shareholders, and in addition a well-defined and practical exit strategy it will increase the appetite of investors in general.
He describes the MOC to be an international platform to teach the mechanisms of Capital to entrepreneurs and investors. The MOC is the trifecta of business incubation, acceleration, and investment. One of the core principles of business investment that the MOC teaches and which Jimmy firmly believes in is collaboration between companies and entrepreneurs.
This means the willingness and openness to merge your unique skills as an entrepreneur, the unique offering of your company, profit and loss, with the skills, products and offerings of other companies with the end goal of exponential growth of a newly formed company. This approach can create a big win for all involved.
But what is ‘Outside Standing’?
The aforementioned discussion led to Jimmy sharing one of his favourite sayings:
“Be outstanding or outside standing” – a tongue in the cheek way of saying that by truly understanding and applying both the mechanisms of the market and capital you can experience the exponential growth of your company or alternatively by not fully applying both mechanisms it is then highly likely that you will be a witness from the ‘outside’ to the exponential growth of other companies and unfortunately not your own.
Jimmy’s’ accumulated learnings allows him to assist his team in building an ‘IPO’ compliant company that is formed with a collaborative approach towards a planned and well executed exit. That is part of his mind-set which is to do ‘big things’ and keep a distance from ‘small things’ for as an investor this man is always after exponential growth. He fosters a creation mind-set which is to create a bigger picture through leveraging and combining market and capital mechanisms.
One of the key ‘take always’ for me as an entrepreneur is to be much more open to collaboration in order to add value to others and in turn receive value such as exponential growth. Understanding the market mechanisms within your industry is not enough to multiply business performance, taking a keen interest in the capital mechanisms at play will take major strides towards actualising your bigger picture.
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