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11 Things Entrepreneurs Do that Make Them Wildly Successful At A Young Age

11 Things Entrepreneurs Do that Make Them Wildly Successful At A Young Age

According to a survey by the Kauffman Foundation, the decision to start a business- over choosing other careers- has risen for young adults aged 18-21, from 19% in 2007 to 25% in 2010. No doubt young people around the world are seeing that entrepreneurship can create opportunities for them unlike those offered by any other career path. In the US, for example, The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, which tracks early-stage entrepreneurial activity, found that in 2010 almost 5.5% of Americans aged 18-24 were launching early-stage businesses- and a good number of these entrepreneurs are succeeding at a tender age.

Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook at age 20 and started swimming in wealth when he was still in college. Zuckerberg is now one of the wealthiest people in the world, valued at more than $34 billion. Sergey Brin and Larry Page founded Google when they were both 25. British entrepreneur Carl Churchill started his first Web design business at age 12. Today he’s worth more than $10 million. Juliath Brindak began creating sketches of characters at age 10, and then developed a complementary social-media platform at age 16. Her company, Miss O & Friends is now worth an estimated $15 million.

The list of young and successful entrepreneurs goes on and on. It is awe-inspiring to think about how early these entrepreneurs got their start.

But, what exactly are these entrepreneurs doing right that’s making them succeed while still being so young and inexperienced? What can entrepreneurs at any age learn from them?

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Here are eleven key things that make entrepreneurs wildly successful at a young age:

1. They keep an eye out for opportunities and then capitalise on them.

As a student, George Burgess had trouble finding any useful apps to help him prepare for his A-levels. The fact that there are numerous apps in the market for just about anything you can think of, and that none of them helped students get through their education struck him as an ideal opportunity for investment. He capitalised on this gap and built the app that made him tremendously rich. In a similar fashion, Nick D’Aloisio, at only 17, designed an app that Yahoo paid $30 million for. He credits an eye for spotting market disparities as his catalyst for becoming an entrepreneur. These successful young entrepreneurs are problem solvers. Focusing on needs and finding solutions to problems is what gets them noticed.

2. They use initiative and work really hard.

The only way to build something great is to work really hard and really smart. An entrepreneur needs to spot opportunities and then take it upon himself to step in and fill that need. When James Murray Wells was a college student in Britain, he realized that there wasn’t an online e-retailer for eyeglasses so he took the initiative and quickly filled that need. He earned $4 million his first year. According to Facebook’s Zuckerberg, you should devote yourself to what you are doing as an entrepreneur and if this means missing a few nights out then so be it.

3. They utilise people that can help them grow.

No entrepreneurial venture really succeeds without utilising the right people. Successful entrepreneurs know this. They utilise the power of other successful and well-known people (like the “sharks”) to build credibility. Not connecting with the right people can cost you your success as an entrepreneur.

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4. They minimise the effort spent on operation of the business.

Successful entrepreneurs understand the necessity to grow their business in as many different ways as possible in order to reach more people. This could be really costly and inefficient; but instead of skipping it, successful entrepreneurs make use of tools to help them achieve the purpose. They know that with a wise tool that can facilitate them to manage different selling channels effectively is halfway to success. Tools like Shopify minimises the operation costs of the business by facilitating selling of products and services across different channels, so entrepreneurs can concentrate on the strategies of growing the business.

5. When it comes to taking risks, they just do it.

No ‘analysis paralysis’, here. These successful entrepreneurs just do it. They take risks. From dropping out of college to playing the stock market and venturing into new industries, these entrepreneurs are risk takers. James Murray Wells used his student loans as capital to launch what he called a “recession-proof business.” Michael Dunlop dropped out of high school after his dyslexia had teachers telling him he’d never be successful. He founded IncomeDiary.com, which today earns him a hefty six-figure income. The most successful entrepreneurs are not risk-averse.

6. They work with their hobbies and natural talents.

Mike McDonald, a Canadian with a knack for gambling, started toying with online poker at the age of 15. He was feeling pressured to get a job by his parents, but he didn’t want to do the usual teen gig. So he leveraged his hobby for gambling and natural gift for poker and became a millionaire as a teen. Today he is worth more than $5 million. Joe Penna, better known as Mystery Guitar Man, says, “Every single person I know who is successful at what they do is successful because they love doing it.” You’ve got to find what you love. Successful entrepreneurs do what they love and love what they do.

7. They adapt and continually come up with great new ideas.

Successful entrepreneurs not only take initiative, but also make fast decisions and adjust along the way- quickly! That’s because people tire of commodities fast, and if you don’t create something new and interesting, you will get left behind. Bill Gates- who himself dropped out of Harvard to co-found Microsoft with Paul Allen, and was the youngest billionaire in the world at just 31 years old- revealed the secret to his phenomenal success saying, “In three years, every product my company makes will be obsolete. The only question is whether we will make them obsolete or somebody else will.”

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Constantly adapting, improving, and putting a bit of yourself and your personality into your products is what will keep people begging for more.

8. They innovate and create their own markets.

Successful entrepreneurs go beyond just creating better versions of what is already in the market. They also invest their time and resources into creating something totally new, bringing to life systems that are more efficient and/or more stylish. In doing so, they create their own market and offer people better solutions and experiences. No entrepreneur epitomises this innovative genius better than Steve Jobs. Jobs introduced the stylish, high-end Macintosh computers, which etched their own space in the computer market and continue to dominate that market today. Even Bill Gates acknowledged his tech rival’s genius when he said:

“To create a new standard, it takes something that’s not just a little bit different; it takes something that’s really new and really captures people’s imagination—and the Macintosh, of all the machines I’ve ever seen, is the only one that meets that standard.”

9. They improvise and do with whatever is at hand.

Sometimes the products you have need to be modified, or you come into possession of a product that could be fantastic with just a few changes. But, you might not have the resources or material you need to make the product better. Rather than just give up on the project, successful entrepreneurs improvise. Maddie Bradshaw, featured on the TV show Shark Tank along with her younger sister and mom, started by designing locker decorations using soda bottle tops because she couldn’t find anything similar that she liked already on the market. She earned $1.6 million in her first year, and by the time she was 16 she had lured an astonishing three “sharks” to join her as investors and partners.

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10. They stay patient and focused as their business grows.

Good things come to those who wait. Knowing how to let things grow and develop, while focusing on doing a variety of tasks that help the process along, is an important part of becoming a successful entrepreneur. Too many people give up too soon because of impatience. But building successful businesses takes time, even for such gifted people as Steve Jobs. Jobs didn’t really get on the map until the Macintosh was invented eight years after he and Steve Wozniak founded Apple Inc. at 21 and 26 years of age respectively. You need to keep focused and stay patient to succeed as an entrepreneur.

11. They diversify and re-invest their riches.

The most successful entrepreneurs diversify and re-invest their riches. This ensures that they never go broke. Gary Martin, a young Irish entrepreneur began running his own nightclub at the tender age of 15 (the drinking ages in the U.K. are vastly lower than in the U.S.). By the time he was 17, he had moved on to property management. By 18, he was worth $20 million and counting. He understood the importance of re-investing and diversifying your wealth. Unfortunately, not all entrepreneurs understand this fact. Andrew Fashion designed mini rocket launchers and was worth more than $2 million by the time he was 20. He then blew it all on women and gambling by the time he turned 22.

It certainly takes smarts to succeed as an entrepreneur.

Featured photo credit: Detail of handsome hipster modern businessman using smart phone in the city via shutterstock.com

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

More About Boosting Productivity

Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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