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How This Ambitious 19-Year-Old Female CEO Started At 16

How This Ambitious 19-Year-Old Female CEO Started At 16

Yesterday was one of those days I felt entirely too old. I became acquainted with a female CEO who started her entrepreneurial journey at only 16 years old — while she was still in high school! Today, she’s someone whose successes are bound to inspire many others.

The CEO of SavyDisha Shidham, is an ambitious 19-year-old with many dreams. One of her dreams gave way to Savy, a tool that democratizes your online shopping experience. Savy lets you name your price for any item you love and emails you when your item hits your desired price.

Savy was founded on the tagline: “your style, your price”. They now have 200+ retail partners you can shop from. If you love an item, but it is too expensive simply enter a price you’re willing to pay and your email. As soon as your item hits your price, you’ll be emailed.

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Savy aims to cultivate relationships between businesses and site visitors who are “window shopping” or just browsing. Since price is such an important aspect for both businesses and customers, it seems fitting to get the customer’s input.

An Extract from the Young Female CEO’s Interview

Disha is an inspiration for every aspiring entrepreneur. Her story is not just a success story, but also an enlightening one. I took the time to learn from her and to understand how she leveraged various resources as a young entrepreneur.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, Disha! So tell me, when did your entrepreneurial journey begin?

You are so welcome Saheed, thank you for having me!

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When I was 16, so back in the summer of 2014, I participated in the MIT Launch Summer Program, which is a 4-week entrepreneurship program specifically for high schoolers. Those 4 weeks were truly my introduction to entrepreneurship (my high school didn’t offer classes or any entrepreneurship clubs) and I absolutely loved the idea of building something with your sweat and tears and watching it add value to peoples’ lives. Entrepreneurship was a perfect fit for who I was and who I wanted to be in the future.

What are some resources you came across as a young entrepreneur?

So the MIT Launch Program is obviously one, it gave me a taste of the startup world. My advice to any young entrepreneur would be definitely to start there. After MIT Launch, I decided I wanted to continue with the idea I had developed, so I participated in Catapult Ideas — an incubator for high school startups, which helped hone my startup idea, then called TacBoard, into an actionable and monetizable business.

I would also advise young entrepreneurs, or really any entrepreneurs in general, to reach out to their community. For me specifically, one example of when I did this — I reached out to State Representative Stephanie Kunze, who is part of the Ohio House, and she invited me to the first ever Empower Women Entrepreneurial Event.

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From there, I was able to gain contacts to further my startup. I was even able to speak to  Ohio’s Speaker of the House, Cliff Rosenberger, and the Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, Mary Taylor, about TacBoard and the issue of increasing diversity in business.

What are the obstacles you had to overcome as a young entrepreneur?

In the beginning, it was difficult to overcome that “young entrepreneur” label — many would just dismiss my company as not really being a serious startup. But in the end, if your company is gaining traction and if you know your market, your naysayers will quickly be proven wrong.

Truly, the most important question, which I’m sure countless entrepreneurs have mentioned, is “do your customers love your product?” It takes a lot of work to get to a place where your customers are raving about your product — but once you get there, no one will be able to dismiss you or your company.

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You mentioned to me that you’ve decided to take time before going to college. What made you take the leap?

During my senior year of high school, I was juggling school and my business (which was then called TacBoard) and I often felt like my work was compromised when either school or my business became particularly busy. I hated that feeling of producing subpar work (I’m a perfectionist if you can’t tell already). I knew that the opportunity of school would always be available to me but in a startup, it’s either grow or stagnate, so I knew I couldn’t put my business on hold.

Also, I ended up doing really well in a few programs I participated in: Catapult (which I mentioned earlier) and Draper University (a six-week entrepreneurship program in Silicon Valley run by eclectic billionaire Tim Draper, an investor in Tesla, SpaceX, Skype, and Hotmail). I won Catapult’s Demo Day and placed 5th out of 70 other startups at DraperU’s Demo Day so that validation really strengthened my resolve to take time and not go to college.

Wow, so you’ve pitched in front of a billionaire? How was that experience?

Really nerve-racking. I never considered myself to be a particularly strong public speaker. But ever since that pitch, whenever I’m speaking in front of a crowd I remind myself that I’ve presented in front of a billionaire VC and that he thought I spoke well. It’s all about positive thinking

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    Chloe Chong

    Chloe is a social media expert and shares lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on February 25, 2020

    15 Personal Goals for Work to Help You Succeed

    15 Personal Goals for Work to Help You Succeed

    It’s easy to blend into the crowd at work. The majority of workers choose to settle for mediocrity and anonymity; especially if they work in a large or virtual work environment. It’s much easier to go to work every day and contribute just enough to meet your job’s requirements than it is to leave a lasting impression on your coworkers.

    What isn’t easy is standing out.

    By setting personal goals for work, you can intentionally work towards getting noticed which will propel you towards getting your dream job.

    Do not settle for mediocrity and do not settle for anonymity. Dream big and stand out from the crowd. Here are 15 examples of personal goals for work to help you stand out from your coworkers and lead a successful career.

    1. Self-Mastery

    Self-Mastery is all about deepening your awareness of your skills, strengths and weaknesses. Once you identify what makes you unique and what you’re most passionate about, use that awareness to develop your skills even further.

    Use your awareness of your weaknesses to identify areas of improvement. By practising your self-awareness in these areas, you will demonstrate an ability to self regulate your development and growth.

    2. Being Grateful for Where You Are

    Take a moment and reflect on how hard you worked to get where you are today.

    How many times did you apply to your job? How many interviews did you go through? How many hours have you put in?

    You’ve worked hard to get to where you are today. Be grateful of all of the hard work you’ve put in to get you where you are today.

    By practising gratitude, you open yourself up to receive what’s next.

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    3. Staying Excited for What’s Next

    The perfect vibrational stance to be in to be actively working towards your goals is to practice gratitude for your current situation and to feel excitement for what’s coming next.

    Expect better things to come. Anticipate that you will accomplish your goal and that you’re working towards your dream job. Be open to receiving what’s coming your way next.

    4. Celebrating Each Others’ Differences

    As coworkers, we all bring different strengths to a team environment. Introverts bring deep thought to current issues and extroverts do well in busy meetings and discussions. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is an excellent measurement of personality differences and brings an interesting review of your team’s personalities interact with each other.

    If possible, request to have an MBTI done with your coworkers so that you can learn more about your similarities and differences; or recognize the differences in your team’s personalities and appreciate that they each contribute different values to the group.

    5. Using Your Team’s Differences to Your Advantage

    Once you learn more about the different personalities on your team, you can work more strategically with your coworkers. Some coworkers may present as introverts who prefer to take time away to review information before making decisions. Other coworkers may present as extroverts who excel in group discussions and facilitating presentations.

    Once you identify the different strengths of your coworkers, you can plan projects and group work according to each other’s personality strengths.

    6. Managing Conflicts Effectively

    If conflict arises between yourself and another coworker, take time to assess how you’d like to work through the situation rather than reacting in the heat of the moment.

    Request a private meeting with the other coworker and present the facts in an objective manner. Initiate a practical conversation to discuss the issue of conflict and then find a mutually-beneficial solution together.

    Doing so will show your coworkers and your boss you’re capable of dealing with emotionally-sensitive discussions while keeping a cool head.

    7. Becoming a ‘Yes’ Person

    Volunteer for new projects and special assignments. Be the first person to put up your hand.

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    If your boss is looking for someone to step up, be the first to volunteer. It shows you’re engaged and gives you the opportunity to learn new skills.

    8. Saying ‘No’ When Necessary

    This may seem contradictory to the previous point, but this is not!

    If you’re close to burnout or have a lot going on in your personal life, choose to say no to additional work if you must.

    Be aware of your own mental state of wellness. If you’re incapable of taking on more, say no rather than saying yes and being unable to submit impeccable work.

    If necessary, share with your boss privately that you’re not in the right place to take on work but you intend to get back on track and as soon as possible.

    9. Showing Humility

    It’s not possible to be perfect at everything all the time. If you make a mistake, own up to it.

    Let your boss know or coworker know that you made a mistake and you want to correct it. Tell them that you have learned from this experience and you will do things differently going forward.

    Practice humility so that you may demonstrate a willingness to do better.

    10. Modeling Work Life Balance

    Make your own self care a priority so that you’re allocating time out of the office to your exercise, health and nutrition goals.

    Carve out time before or after work to taking care of you. Propose walking meetings during the day or try organizing a group fitness classes at lunch. Invite your coworkers to join you in trying a new yoga class.

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    Show your coworkers that you’re committed to work life balance so that you can show up as your best self while at work.

    11. Under Promise, Over Deliver

    If you commit to finishing a project by a certain time, be certain that you will do what you said you’re going to do when you said you’re going to do it.

    Do not commit to completing a project using an unrealistic time frame. If you’re unable to deliver, you will inevitably harm your reputation and will negatively affect others’ expectations of your abilities.

    Rather than committing to more than you can accomplish, commit to what you’re capable of or slightly less so that you can over deliver on your promises.

    12. Finding Your Own Answers

    Rather than quickly turning to your coworkers or your boss when you have questions, do your best to find your own answers.

    Review company policies, best practices and previous situations. Use critical thinking to determine how to best handle a situation and demonstrate that you’re able to make sound decisions when it’s required.

    After doing your research, present the situation to your boss and share how you would handle the situation. Ask for guidance to see if you’re on the right track. By doing so you’ll demonstrate drive and ambition.

    13. Asking for Help

    If a situation arises that is above your pay-grade and you must ask for help or guidance, do so with humility.

    Respectfully ask your boss or coworkers for their help. Let them know that you are grateful for their assistance and that they’re willing to share their knowledge. Offer to be of assistance to them if it’s needed in the future and repay the favor.

    Here’re some tips for you: How to Ask for Help When You Feel Silly to Do So

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    14. Offering Help

    If you can see a fellow coworker is struggling, offer to help them out. Offering your help will demonstrate your ability to work as a team player.

    If your workplace has hired a new employee, offer to take them under your wing and show them the ropes. Let your boss know that you’d be happy to show them around.

    It will demonstrate your seniority in the workplace and your interest in fostering teamwork and morale.

    15. Taking a Brain Break Regularly

    Take a few moments whenever you can for a mini meditation. In the bathroom, the coffee room, or on the subway on your way to work, take a few deep breaths and center your mind.

    Slow down your heart rate and tune in to your inner self. Remind yourself that work can be stressful but we don’t need to let the stress affect us. Return to this grounded and centered state whenever you feel out of alignment.

    The Bottom Line

    Use this list of personal goals to skyrocket your career path at work. Let your actions speak louder than words.

    Demonstrate to your boss and your coworkers that you don’t intend to settle for mediocrity; you intend to stand out from the crowd and will do so by implementing personal goals and actively working towards your dream job.

    More Tips About Goals Setting

    Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

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