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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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    Last Updated on October 16, 2018

    How to Quit Your Job That You Hate and Start Doing What You Love

    How to Quit Your Job That You Hate and Start Doing What You Love

    Everyone of us has a plan in our head that was taken over by family responsibilities, social pressure or sheep mentality. This made us a slave to instant gratification and started killing our plan and dreams.

    There is a way to revive your plans and dreams and live a happier life. No amount of salary can exceed your desire to do something that you are really passionate about.

    If you hate your job and have thought about leaving your job, here’s how to quit your job and start doing what you love:

    1. Identify if you really want to quit to follow your passion

    There could be many possible reasons to figure out why you are discouraged to go to work and start thinking about how to quitting your job. Figure out the reasons or signs that make you feel that you should really quit your job.

    If these reasons are not related to your office environment or your ultimate goal is to pay your bills from your job, you should consider getting a new job in the same field. It’s better to be an experienced receptionist than to live a dream that is not yours.

    2. Start with the side hustle and keep it going

    Work after you get back home and build up your product or service enough to gain confidence to quit your job.

    Build the website, write down the business plan, design your product, make marketing collaterals or do whatever it takes for you to start working full time on your new venture before quitting your current job.

    You could also consider part-time working opportunities if your current job sucks a lot of your energy. This way you could save your energy and dedicate more time to your side hustle.

    Ensure that you don’t quit until your new venture really demands your full time dedication. You might lose interest in your new venture if you fall short of survival money.

    3. Save enough to pay your bills

    If you need to pursue your passion, you need your monthly bills to be taken care of, without any worries. You must cut down on unnecessary expenses and squeeze in those extra bucks on your savings while you are at your current job. You should forget those weekend parties and social outings unless they’re meant for networking.

    It makes no sense to quit your job without having any savings. Your new venture will not start paying you immediately. Starting a recurring deposit account is a good idea to start off with. Put aside a considerable amount every month as soon as you get your paycheque and forget about that money until you quit your job.

    4. Write down your goals

    It is important to have visual proof and a daily reminder of why you quit your job and started a new hustle.

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    Write down your goals and read them at least once a week. If you are a forgetful person, create cell phone or desktop wallpapers of your goals and set them until you achieve them. Visual proof keeps you on track.

    These goals are the bigger picture of what you wish to achieve in your pursuit to doing what you love.

    For example, if you are wish to design the best dresses in the whole state, write it down. If you wish to fly to Mars, write it down. If you really wish to give up your career for something, it better be worth remembering everyday. Show it to yourself daily.

    5. Make a plan

    Write down a plan of action for the next 12 months. It’s like writing down an elaborate execution plan in your calendar. This could be a daily, weekly or monthly to-do list of your tasks to achieve your goals.

    Learn how to make a plan if that’s not your area of expertise. Ensure that you know what you’re going to do next and not run like a headless chicken after two months of working for yourself.

    Review the plan time and again to track your progress. This will give you a clear picture of your performance and your shortcomings.

    Also, have a backup plan. Even great planners and strategists fail before achieving success. Ensure that you have a second plan if your first one does not work out as you predicted.

    6. Get professional advice

    Talk to experienced people in the field you want to venture out. Go to networking events and connect with people in your industry. Most people will help you out with good advice and good contacts.

    Get professional courses in part time colleges. It could be great to network and the teachers can be of great help to understand more about the industry. They will help you analyse your plan and connect you to influential people.

    7. Prepare yourself to put a resignation

    Prepare yourself mentally to quit your job after you’ve realized the potential and prepared yourself to take a deep dive into your new profession.

    Leave on a friendly note. Don’t make enemies with your bosses. These connections could help you further in your profession.

    Don’t burn the bridges. It’s better to have a face-to-face conversation with your boss or reporting manager than sending a surprise mail.

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    Tell them sincerely about your new venture and why it is important for you. Serve the notice period completely and work till the last day. Complete all your tasks as you would on a regular day. This will maintain your respect and keep your relationships intact.

    8. Be prepared to get your hands dirty

    As an entrepreneur, you have to do everything that’s needed to keep your work going.

    You have to perform all the tasks needed to keep your new venture going. You have to be a janitor, an administrator, an accountant, a designer or a salesperson all at once.

    There would be a point of time where you will have to perform tasks that aren’t your favourite. Be ready to perform such tasks without cringing.

    9. Have no baggage

    Don’t have a debt! Clear all your loans, debts and pending commitments before starting off. You want to fully concentrate on your new activity and not be bent down by loading your shoulders with any burden.

    You would want to enjoy your freedom to work incessantly. No distractions whatsoever are allowed to come close to you when you are fully involved in the rhythm of development. Shun away materialism!

    10. Don’t be in two minds

    It’s good to analyze the best and the worst possibilities in your head, but it’s not at all good to doubt yourself.

    Move ahead with confidence. It’s your life, your plan and your rules. Nothing and nobody can stop you from doing what you wish to do.

    The more you start getting noticed, the more people will point fingers at you. Don’t let them affect you and create doubts in your head. As William Shakespeare said,

    “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

    11. Learn to handle failure

    You are going to be a loser and it’s a good thing! If you fail and lose, you will learn to not repeat your mistakes and make yourself stronger with every punch you throw out.

    It takes time till you start losing. The key is to not be demotivated by failure. The more the failure, the more closer you are to success.

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    12. Try your hands at investing in stock market or cryptocurrency

    It’s a good way to keep your side income rolling in. While you are busy building your dream project, you could invest your money in the stock market or cryptocurrency and let it grow while you sleep.

    As Warren Buffet famously quoted,

    “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”

    Find a good stock broker who has enough experience to not lose your money. Stop immediately if you are losing a lot of money. Don’t burn away your money.

    13. Keep a healthy routine

    It’s easy to forget about your health when you are working on something that you’re really passionate about. Set reminders about your health routine.

    Exercise! Most successful people start their day early and take time out to exercise at least thrice a week. It helps you give more energy and time to your work.

    Always remember that you started your new venture to be happier. Bad health will not let you enjoy your success.

    Join yoga classes or learn meditation from youtube. Avoid sitting too long at one place for more than 15 minutes at a stretch, take breaks. take a walk, especially up-down the staircase as much as you can to skip age related joint pains and muscle atrophies.[1]

    14. Enjoy your days off

    Taking a break helps your creativity and clears your mind from clutter. You need your days off to come back afresh and take on your tasks. You can’t be working 24/7.

    Remember that being able to take your days off is one of the beneficial quirks of an entrepreneurial journey. You can have a routine designed by yourself, for yourself.

    Take your days off when you are too stressed and can’t think straight. Self-discipline might sound simple but practice takes ages. Schedule down time for yourself.

    15. Take these steps to quit your job without burning bridges

    Resume.io has this infographic about the steps you should take after you’ve decided to quit your job:[2]

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      16. Remember why you quit your job

      Lastly, remember why you quit your job and started doing what you love. There would be bad days that will make you regret your decision, but don’t let them dominate the reason why you took the plunge.

      Your soul wasn’t happy with what you were doing. Your new venture is what you always wanted to do.

      Never forget that.

      If nothing works out, you could still go back to any job you want, but at least, you’d be spared from regrets and constantly arriving “What if?” question in your head.

      So, start now and live without any regrets.

      Execution matters more than thought. Turn your dream into a reality starting today. Start small and grow big.

      Besides, it’s never too late to do what you want to do. Here’s the proof:

      How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

      Reference

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