One of the core values at my company, Hawke Media, is “get sh*t done.” Our team defines this (in more polite terms) as: “Move quickly, and seize every opportunity.”
While that sounds simple, many entrepreneurs do the exact opposite. That’s why I was so taken last year with our new intern, Daniel Newman. Simply put, Daniel is ahead of the curve for making things happen. While most college students are going to bars or catching up on sleep, this young man is applying every life experience to his advantage.
That’s why I wasn’t surprised in the least to learn that Daniel had recently organised and operated the first student-run Shark Tank-style event at his school, the University of Southern California (USC), and that the event turned out to be a massive success.
The guy who brought sharks to college
As vice president of operations of USC’s TAMID (which helps business-minded students connect with Israel’s economy), Daniel said he’d seen a lot of students hesitate to pursue their startup ideas. The problem: They felt too young or too inexperienced.
With TAMID Tank, Daniel proved those biases wrong: He showcased USC’s top three student-led startups and demonstrated that even student-run companies can get venture funding. He and his TAMID team organised the whole event, raised $14,000 from various corporate and institutional sponsors and then chased down VCs by sending cold emails, calling their offices, catching them at events – you name it, they did it.
Ultimately, they secured three well-known Los Angeles investors:
- Eytan Elbaz (co-founder of Render Media, Scopely, Social Native and Applied Semantics, which was acquired by Google and is now known as Google AdSense),
- Effie Epstein (COO and managing partner of Sound Ventures)
- Laurent Grill (venture lead at Luma Launch).
Leading up to the event, Newman designed a schoolwide startup competition to find the university’s top three startups, then executed a marketing campaign to hit every corner of campus and ensure that everyone knew about TAMID Tank – which subsequently sold out.
USC’s top three student-led startups (Aqus, Drops and Reefer) pitched their companies and received valuable feedback and coaching, and the event raised the profile of TAMID and entrepreneurship across campus – especially after the club won an award from the Marshall School of Business for “Most Innovative Event” during the 2016-2017 school year.
How did he accomplish all of this at such a young age?
I wanted to find out where Newman’s passion and drive came from and what advice he had for young entrepreneurs moving forward. After talking with him, here are the three things I learned:
1He learned from his refugee-parents how to deliver more for less
TAMID Tank may have been his most recent success, but Newman learned to “get sh*t done” well before he arrived at USC, drawing inspiration from his parents, who escaped from Iran during its 1979 revolution, with no money, no English language skills and no family in the United States. That didn’t stop either of them from learning English and studying to become, respectively, a pharmacist and an optometrist.
Seeing his parents succeed against such odds had a huge effect on their son’s desire to push himself to success, he told me. He considered working as a tutor for about $15 an hour but realized he could start a tutoring company himself, call himself the founder and charge twice as much for the same services.
Although he didn’t intend for that venture – TutorYou Beverly Hills – to outgrow his own reach, before long, other seniors started asking him to hire them. With more employees came more demand; just like that, he had a real business. “I learned two huge lessons in that experience,” Daniel said.
“First, deliver more, and you’ll slowly gain market share. Second, execute an idea shortly after it comes – move fast while you’re still inspired.”
2He quickly seizes (and maximises) every opportunity
With those philosophies in mind, Daniel and his best friend quickly developed another company. They’d noticed a barrier to entry for people who wanted to use geofilters on Snapchat but weren’t graphic designers; so the pair decided to help small businesses reach their younger targets on Snapchat’s platform. Drawing inspiration from the success of TutorYou Beverly Hills, Daniel and his partner planned and launched Geocasion almost overnight.
One obvious thing about him is that Daniel has never taken his smarts for granted. People hard-wired for entrepreneurship can be overconfident. And when they believe they’re smarter and more equipped for success than others, they may find it hard to know how much more they need to learn.
Not Daniel. In fact he’s taken several internships to make the connections and fill the knowledge gaps he sees in himself. That’s where I met him: in his role as a business development intern.
Eventually, our company, thanks to his diligence, promoted Daniel to my point person, allowing him, among other things, to develop proposals, referral agreements and service agreements for onboarding clients and driving revenue. These are rare and valuable opportunities for an intern and aspiring young entrepreneur. And he was grateful: Aside from learning the ins and outs of marketing, Daniel credited his time with us for helping him get Geocasion off the ground.
“I increased my marketing knowledge tenfold within weeks, which gave me the foundation to launch this company in the first place,” he told us.
“Without that experience, I might never have seen the gap that existed between small businesses and Snapchat’s geofilters – and Geocasion wouldn’t have existed at all.”
3He finds inspiration in challenges and setbacks
If a start-up takes off, that’s excellent – but even a failed startup provides valuable experience that compounds and leads to exponentially better results in the long run.
In Daniel’s view, young professionals have little to lose by pursuing a venture, and a lot to gain. Most college students don’t have to worry about rent, kids, a spouse or even a job. Moreover, younger entrepreneurs have a high risk tolerance and the highest level of energy and motivation they’ll probably ever have. At that point in life, they should experience anything and everything – while the stakes are low and the upsides high.
And just so you don’t think Daniel’s story is one of invariable success, Geocasion actually shut down recently. As the market evolved, there was no longer space for the service. Nonetheless, Daniel told me, he still believes that the time to act on an idea is always now. Even if the venture doesn’t turn out how you envisioned, you’ll meet other entrepreneurs, investors and professionals who will remain in your network.
Without chasing his ideas, Daniel would have no reason to meet people who will provide massive value throughout his career. For example, Daniel met TAMID Tank shark Laurent Grill during his own time running Geocasion. Although he and his partner closed that startup, the connection helped Daniel land Grill for the event that experienced so much success.
As Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
To that, Daniel adds: “Have a reason to create those dots in the first place, and you’ll be surprised to see the odd and miraculous way they connect when you look back.”
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
10 Gary Vaynerchuk-Approved Success Strategies
The VaynerMedia founder gets real about drive and ambition.
Perhaps the best way to describe Gary Vaynerchuk is “nonstop.” The founder of VaynerMedia, VaynerSports and Vayner/RSE is also an author, host and vlogger who records just about everything he does.
He is known for being relentless in his pursuit of the hustle and has a loyal audience of millions (2.4 million on Instagram, 1.58 million on Twitter and 2.3 million on Facebook) who take his advice to heart.
We took a deep dive into his blog archive to find some of his best tips and advice for making it as an entrepreneur.
1. On why failure shouldn’t scare you
“It’s the lack of fear of failing that has allowed me to make decisions so quick. People don’t make decisions because they are scared to lose. I make decisions because I want to know what’s going to happen, and then I use that information to help advise what I do next,” Vaynerchuk writes.
“The one thing I know for sure, is the outcome of what happens if you don’t decide. If you never make a decision, or deliberate for too long, all the upside or potential opportunity could be lost.”
2. On the value of patience
“The game is LONG. There’s so much opportunity. Optimism is the secret to capitalizing on this opportunity and that’s where you need to live. You need to figure out how good it really is and how much opportunity you have,” Vaynerchuk writes.
“Patience is practical. I push patience because I know life is long. Everybody around here is running around like it’s not. 24 year-olds running around like it ends tomorrow. Like they need it now. What’s wrong with being 26 or 41 or 73?”
3. On why age has nothing to do with ability
“The youth are the future of everything. They are the future of business, of society, of law and of government. We better pay attention, and empower them to be the best that they can be,” Vaynerchuk writes.
“My hope is that we lose the sentiment of age makes a difference in skill. There are plenty of 22 and 24 and 26 year olds in my office right now that work harder and smarter than some of the 50 year olds I know. It’s just the truth and we are going to continue to see this trend adopted in the marketplace. You can’t deny results.”
4. On how to build a lasting legacy
“I think my actions map to my ambitions. Because my ambition is to have legacy. I treat it that way. I treat everybody I interact with, with kindness and respect. These days, as my notoriety has grown, I still treat people just the same. I look them dead in the face and I’m just in it with them for that one minute or two or three or 10, and really care about they have to say! Because I am very appreciative and humbled for their attention. I will never get over it. I will never get over the fact that people actually care.”
5. On the importance of an open door policy
“I don’t think one can win in business without having the proper teammates and empowering them to play their role. Ideas can come from anywhere but the fact of the matter is you need an offensive line, you need a receiver, you need a quarterback, you need them all and I think any leader that doesn’t recognise that will ultimately not succeed in the long term. Obviously you can have a company that runs for six months and you sell it but over a 10, 20, 40 year period, there is no other strategy that will actually work.”
6. On why you need to prioritise your own happiness
“To truly be selfless, you have to give without expectation. It’s the mindset of giving with expectation, which kills everything. It just doesn’t work at all. Being selfish is the gateway to selflessness, because you learn to take care of your own personal needs first in order to use that as collateral later so that you can really, truly help.”
7. On why you shouldn’t think about how things “should be”
“Navigating our society and our lives with the hope of how it ‘should be’ versus the way it actually is, is the quickest and least practical way to create success. This is something I say to myself every single day,” Vaynerchuk writes.
“I am in control of my destiny. Nobody else. I get to decide how I react and how I respond, and the greatest motivator to inspire perspective is the simple statement ‘What’s the alternative?’”
8. On why you must value the perspective you bring to the table
“Why are you taking somebody else’s opinion about yourself greater than your opinion about yourself? It’s the single greatest mistake that will keep you from finding happiness and confidence in who you are,” Vaynerchuk writes.
“And it’s not that their opinions don’t matter. You have to have an equal amount of respect for yourself as for others. It’s a democratic society and everyone gets a vote. So beyond the thought leaders, and politicians and school systems you have to have respect for yourself. You need to put yourself on your own pedestal and then start weighing the opinions of others proportionately to how you actually feel about yourself.”
9. On why the competition doesn’t matter
“I am and always have been consumer focused. The reason I don’t pay attention to my ‘competition’ is not because I’m brash or cool. It’s because it doesn’t matter when you’re obsessed with the end consumer,” Vaynerchuk writes.
“Because it starts and it ends with the end consumer and where the attention actually is. I will always do actions that bring you the most value because then I get value in return.”
10. On why your goal should be to keep working
“I didn’t need to get mine at 25. Heck, I don’t even need to ‘get mine’ at 41. This is the long, long game. I’m driven by the climb. It could be because I’m an immigrant and I just have this chip on my shoulder. Or maybe it’s in my DNA. I don’t like winning. I like losing. I like the struggle. I like people telling me that I can’t,” Vaynerchuk writes. “I don’t give a shit if my payday comes tomorrow. I want the game. The game is my life. There will never be a moment to quit. There’s no dollar amount. Nothing you can do to make me stop.”
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
7 Motivational Habits That Drive Millionaires
Habits seem to rule us. They can hold you back, or you can adapt the right habits and prosper.
Have you ever been awed by the motivation of a successful entrepreneur, leader or athlete? I have. It’s not jealousy, either. Far from it. It’s respect for how motivated they are. Even though I consider myself fairly motivated, their examples encourage me to become even more focused and driven.
The good news is that by adopting the following seven habits, anyone can become more motivated:
1. Find your why
“Highly motivated people start with their WHY. WHY do you do what you do?” asks J.D. Meier in an article for Time.
“If you climb a mountain simply because it’s there, that’s probably not enough to keep you going when the going gets tough. If you know WHY you do what you do, and it matters deeply to you, then you will find your strength in any situation,” adds Meier.
Why do you want to start a workout regiment? Because it was suggested by your doctor? Did your spouse mutter a comment? Are you tired of feeling lethargic? Once you find your why, you can use that to motivate you to follow through with exercising.
2. Get your morning started on the right foot
One of the easiest and most powerful habits that drive motivation is kicking off your day correctly by having a morning routine. Think about it. Getting your day started on the right foot makes it a lot easier to stay motivated throughout the entire day.
To ensure that you wake up on the right side of the bed, try these tips:
- Have a reason to get out of bed. It could be anything from walking your dog, making sure your kids are off to school, or squeezing in a workout before work.
- Stretch and breathe deep. This gets the blood and oxygen flowing to your brain, and helps you get up.
- Do something simple to start the day. I make my bed immediately once I’m up. It’s not because I want the bedroom to look presentable. It’s because it’s an easy task that makes me feel like I’ve already accomplished something — even though I’ve only been awake for a couple of minutes!
- Create rote tasks. As explained by Due’s Miranda Marquit, “Look for ways you can make mornings easier by creating rote tasks that are easy to accomplish. We don’t like to face a day that starts hard. Do what you can to make it easier. Once you’re up and moving, you’ll feel better and eventually be awake enough to tackle the
- Set goals for the day. This doesn’t have to be lengthy. Just list your top priorities for the day.
3. Change it up
There’s an old saying: Variety is the spice of life. Variety keeps you motivated to meet goals when you haven’t yet made much progress and risk falling into a rut.
Changing things up is like your workout routine. You can’t just work on your legs. Other parts of your body need some loving too. Keep doing the same exercises and you’ll soon plateau.
The same is true for any aspect of your life. Changing things up gives you a chance to break up the monotony, try out new skills, and have new experiences that can lead to new ideas or develop a new passion.
4. Chart your progress
This is a simple way for you to see how far you’ve come along. Sounds simple, but think about when you set a reading goal. Maybe you want to read more books. Your initial goal is to read for just five minutes a day, but once you start you’re reading for ten minutes and then 30 minutes and soon you’re flying through books.
If you can do 30 minutes, then why not bump up to 40? Just imagine all the books you’ll be able to read. Mark this on your calendar each and every day.
5. Create environmental anchors
This is simply writing your goals or inspiring quotes on a Post-it or 3×5 card and placing it on the wall of your office, the inside of your car, bathroom mirror or calendar. A daily reminder of your goal will push you to accomplish it.
6. Develop gratitude
Just by identifying the one thing every day that you’re grateful for is powerful enough in helping you achieve both mini-goals and your big goals, since it develops the ability to look for a daily opportunity that you can grow from.
For example, if you’re grateful that you just landed a new client today, use that feeling and experience to secure two new clients tomorrow.
7. Discover your passion
Obsession can be an extremely powerful motivator since it creates its own motivational might. In fact, the most successful individuals are those who chased their passion and are doing what they love to do.
When you become passionate, whether it’s at work, exercising, or volunteering, it no longer becomes laborious. It becomes something that you enjoy, look forward to, and want to get better at.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
From Local To Global: Bruce Mackenzie CA(SA) Shares Top Tips On Being A Successful Entrepreneur
Managing Director of W.Consulting, Bruce Mackenzie CA(SA), has done exactly that and shares his top tips.
How do you grow your own SME into a global consultancy? Managing Director of W.Consulting, Bruce Mackenzie CA(SA), has done exactly that and shares his top tips.
“I started W.Consulting with the aim of providing an independent, high-quality alternative for corporates and audit firms looking for advice on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The business has grown substantially to more than 40 people working globally, providing advisory services on IFRS, audit risk and corporate finance, training and IT product development.” These are Bruce’s five top tips for achieving growth.
1. Take the risk as soon as possible
It was a nerve-wracking decision to go on my own, as CAs(SA) are taught to be risk-averse. It’s very tough to throw away a CV, but rather than spend a life regretting not taking a chance, if you have thoughts of running your own business, do so sooner rather than later, as the decision only gets tougher with each passing year.
Related: Better Thinking For A Better World
2. Work hard and persevere
One point seldom emphasised enough when talking of entrepreneurs is that it is very hard work and requires a great deal of energy and perseverance. I attribute my success in large measure to high energy levels. You need that.
It’s exhausting — long days, early flights to London to deliver training, and sometimes back again the same day. So, yes, you need a surplus of energy.
3. Know how to sell yourself and your business
You also need a predisposition towards selling, as any business requires sales in order to expand. Selling is something that’s in my DNA.
Especially when selling advice, it requires persistence because I know that a potential client will at some point need services like ours, so I make sure W.Consulting is top of mind when that day comes. I achieve this by keeping up the relationship, sending new ideas with no sales angle connected, mailing interesting books, and checking on how things are with the client. It’s a matter of having genuine interest.
4. Hire trustworthy people who share your passion
There are many risks in establishing your own business and one of the first challenges stems from the need to expand beyond a one-man operation. There’s a certain comfort in doing all the work and seeing all the cash in the business as yours, but it puts a fairly low ceiling on the business’s prospects and potential income.
The decision to expand and hire your first employee is both a big decision in itself and important as to the individual you select. It’s the biggest single decision most entrepreneurs have to make — and one that most don’t make early enough. You need to scale up a business to release resources at the top. That process never really ends — whatever you’re currently doing, you have to continually ask yourself: “Could this be done down the line?”
In an SME, each hire, but especially your first, has to be somebody you can trust, someone with the same objectives as you. Instead of having 9 to 5 people, rather employ someone who will do whatever is necessary, regardless of what time of day it is.
My philosophy is to hire people with passion and who preferably know what they’re doing, and then pay well to get them.
5. Continue to innovate
Most businesses fail not for want of an entrepreneurial idea, but because of management and accounting basics like cash flow. CAs(SA) already understand these basics and so arguably can concentrate on the actual operations of the business. However, because CAs(SA) can earn good money in the corporate world, most opt for the easy route in the corporate environment.
The future and success of any business is to keep on doing what it’s doing well. Bruce attributes the success of the business to its culture of continuous innovation: “It’s easier to sell something new,” he concludes.
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