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Revealed: Successful Young Entrepreneurs’ Secrets to Making Their Dreams Come True

Revealed: Successful Young Entrepreneurs’ Secrets to Making Their Dreams Come True

Do you ever feel that you are investing in the dreams and success of others while neglecting your own? You punch a clock day in and day out, earn a meager pay-check for performing mundane tasks far beneath your capabilities, and for what–to help catapult someone else to success? If so, you are not alone. Many people are trapped in a cycle of chasing someone else’s dream for them, while theirs go unrealized.

Being an entrepreneur is the sexy new trend these days. Everyone seems to be doing it. What if you were to gain the necessary capital needed to launch your own business- would you? Or would the fear of failure stop you dead in your tracks?

If you chose to heed fear’s warning, you may be smarter than you think. Your fear is rational and not without merit. Building a startup is hard. That’s the tough reality despite all of the hype, glamour, and sexiness surrounding entrepreneurship. Statics show that over 90 percent of startups fail. [1] The odds are not in your favor.

10 young entrepreneurs show us how to achieve success

What about that small 10% who do manage to become successful? Their success is not accidental nor did it happen by chance. These young entrepreneurs prove that success is possible despite the odds. Everyone — from the young budding business person to the one looking to get out of debt — can learn something from these savvy upstarts.

1. William Zhou, Co-founder and CEO of Chalk.com

    Lesson: Connect and care.

    Chalk.com is described by Forbes as “Microsoft for teachers.” This education-based software company was birthed out of William’s desire to assist overworked, overburdened educators. His company has created software that simplifies lesson planning, assessments, and the evaluation process for teachers.

    The lesson we can learn from William is that it is important to connect and care about your customer. His primary motivation for starting this company was to provide a service to help teachers and not just to earn a great pay check. He ended up doing both.

    2. Brennen Byrne, Co-founder of Clef

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      Lesson: Keep the right people and stay away from the wrong ones.

      Clef is a replacement for usernames and passwords. The technology works through phone cryptography, eliminating the need for passwords and making logging in quick and safe.

      In an interview with AL.com,[2], Brennen cites hiring good people as one of the most important aspects that helps perpetuate his company’s success. This lesson applies in life and especially in business. You must keep good people around you. Conversely, once you find that a person doesn’t fit the company character and vision, nix them quickly. You can’t afford to wait for a person to bloom, nor can you afford to keep an employee who doesn’t support your mission.

      3. Adam Lipecz, Co-founder of Codie

        Lesson: Focus on one idea at a time.

        Codie is a toy robot and web app that introduces and teaches kids how to write code. In an interview with Forbes magazine, Adam describes Codie as being like Legos for architects.

        Adam is an idealist. He has tons of great ideas all of the time. His success has come from learning how to focus on one big idea at a time and incorporate smaller ideas into the larger one. He is confident that he will create a ton of innovative gadgets because he has the discipline to throw all of his time, energy, expertise, and resources into each idea at the appropriate time.

        4. Daniel Fine, Co-founder and CEO of Team Brotherly Love and The Fine Companies

          Lesson: Passion and drive are essential to sustaining long-term success.

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          Daniel Fine is founder and CEO of Team Brotherly Love and The Fine Companies. These companies include a sunglass company — “Glass-U”, a medical app — “Dosed”, and a tutoring firm — “NexTutors.” Team Brotherly Love has raised over $2 million for Type-1 diabetes research. Glass-U makes fully-folding sunglasses and is licensed to hundreds of universities. It has been featured at events ranging from The Rose Bowl to Lollapalooza.

          In an interview with the Huffington Post[3], Daniel says that passion and focus are the two keys he attributes to his success.

          “Those are probably the two most important things that if anybody has they’ll be able to achieve something. You need the passion and the drive in order to achieve something. Early on, you can create things without being incredibly passionate about it but you can’t consistently create things without being passionate about it. Focus is probably the next thing by a very, very close shot. The focus and drive overlap are two things that are just so necessary for you to be able to create what you’re shooting for. “

          5. Sam Shames, Co-founder of Embr

            Lesson: Your must work hard, but your work should capitalize on your strengths.

            Sam Shames is not new to success. From his college days as a star wrestler at MIT to his inclusion as one of Forbes’ 30 under 30[4] in 2015, Sam knows how to win. As a student at MIT, Sam engineered the core technology for his signature product: Wristify. Wristify is a wearable device that helps regulate temperature. It recreates the relief you feel when you warm your hands by the fireplace in the winter, or the cooling sensation you experience when you pour cold water over your head on a scorching summer’s day.

            Sam believes that you should do what you love and it should be something for which you have a natural aptitude. He was built for everything he does. Sam believes in embracing and leveraging his unique set of skills, abilities, and aptitudes. He embraces hard work but believes that work shouldn’t go against your grain and should capitalize on your strengths.

            6. Nanxi Liu, Co-founder and CEO of Enplug

              Lesson: Go “all in” with your eyes wide open.

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              Enplug is technology that transforms any digital display (TVs, jumbotrons, billboards) from a static, one-way communication channel into an interactive and real-time display.

              The entrepreneurial life is notoriously filled with risks, stresses, and sacrifices. Investing your life into a company at a young age is risky but the idea of taking risks is the fuel that propels successful entrepreneurs to keep moving forward. They don’t want, nor do they expect, failure but they understand it is a part of the process. To them, failure is a bump in the road- not the end of it. Expect it. Embrace it.

              7. Becca Goldstein, Co-founder and COO of Fever Smart

                Lesson: Always look to learn.

                Fever Smart is a non-invasive, real-time temperature monitoring system. It is a preventative solution that enables users to head off potentially dangerous health issues through early detection.

                Becca is a bit different from our other entrepreneurs. She wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do with her life so instead of staying in college she took a year off to travel. Why? According to her, she knew she wouldn’t find the answer to the question, “Why am I here?” in a classroom. Becca, like most successful young entrepreneurs, will tell you that she doesn’t know everything but she is open to learning. Her secret to success? She is a true connoisseur of knowledge.

                8. Gabe Blanchet, Co-founder and CEO of Grove

                  Lesson: Master the art of creating win-wins.

                  Grove is built on the belief that all people — regardless of location, climate or season — can grow their own healthy food right where they live. This business empowers people to actively participate in eating healthier while eliminating negative effects to the environment such as soil erosion and contamination of water runoff, and helps slow down the effects of climate change.

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                  Gabe believes in having the best of both worlds. He and his partner are concerned with the state of the environment, mitigating hunger, and providing people with the technology that allows them to be proactive and productive in sustaining their health. They do all of this and they turn a tidy profit. He believes in helping mankind while building a powerful brand through savvy business processes. The takeaway from Gabe’s model is that your business should be a win-win.

                  9. Sarah Tulin, Co-founder and CEO of Oxie

                    Lesson: Don’t discount small ideas.

                    Oxie is an air purifier that you wear. It couples aerodynamic technology with a sleek design to protect users from air pollutants such as traffic smoke, pollen, and germs.

                    This genius idea was birthed after Sarah was assaulted by a huge cloud of bus smoke on her way to work one day. That one event has changed her life. She was able to combine her love and appreciation for fashion while simultaneously fulfilling a need. She believes that ideas — even the small ones — should be explored.

                    10. Caroline Pugh, Co-founder and COO of VirtualU

                      Lesson: Believe in yourself.

                      VirtualU integrates 3D human modeling technology with fitness and healthcare. It enables people to accurately track how their bodies change as they work out. It shows you exactly where you are losing weight and gaining muscle — in 3D! It also is being adapted to help people make more accurate selections when shopping for clothes online.

                      Caroline’s company’s mission is “to blur the lines between virtual space and reality to make the online experience as real as possible.” That is a pretty lofty goal, even for the most tech-savvy individual or company. Yet she states it with conviction and chases it with tenacity. Her mission statement truly is her mission and not just a group of words used to build a smoke screen brand. She believes in herself. She believes in her mission. She surrounds herself with those who believe in her and who push her to work harder and be better. Her belief in herself is what pushes her to keep going and makes the impossible plausible.

                      These are the secrets of ten young entrepreneurs who have beaten the odds. If you have ever felt that you are investing in the dreams and success of others instead of pursuing your own and you decide to start your own business, there is much to learn from these ten successes.

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                      Last Updated on July 18, 2019

                      How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

                      How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

                      Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

                      However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

                      Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

                      Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

                      There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

                      Better Job Offers

                      Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

                      People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

                      Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

                      You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

                      Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

                      A Shot at Entrepreneurship

                      Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

                      We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

                      13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

                      1. Update Your Resume

                      You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

                      Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

                      While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

                      There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

                      2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

                      Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

                      That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

                      To hone this skill:

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                      Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

                      Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

                      This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

                      How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

                      3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

                      Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

                      Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

                      To hone this skill:

                      Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

                      4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

                      No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

                      Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

                      To hone this skill:

                      Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

                      Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

                      These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

                      The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

                      5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

                      Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

                      How to hone this skill:

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                      Practice being resourceful.

                      Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

                      Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

                      No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

                      If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

                      6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

                      6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

                      Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

                      The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

                      Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

                      Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

                      17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

                      7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

                      Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

                      What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

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                      Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

                      5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

                      8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

                      Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

                      Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

                      Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

                      What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

                      9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

                      How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

                      Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

                      Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

                      The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

                      10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

                      Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

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                      Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

                      What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

                      11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

                      Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

                      You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

                      How to hone this skill:

                      All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

                      How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                      12. Build Networks and Relationships

                      You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

                      Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

                      To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

                      How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

                      Final Thoughts

                      Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

                      You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

                      Happy career switching!

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                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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