Know the secrets to success

By Norzuwariah Mohamad Yusoff

“Secrets of the Young & Successful: How to get everything you want without waiting a lifetime” by Jennifer Kushell –  A book review

Life in a university is not an obstacle for you to get involved in business. This a good start for you to have your own income and experience. Entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint at heart. Founders must forge their own path, gather resources and take on huge financial risks – all in the hopes of avoiding the fate that 80 to 90 percent of startups suffer: failure.

So to succeed, entrepreneurs really have to beat the odds – especially for young entrepreneurs. Starting with almost no wealth, network or business experience, many create more success in a few years than most people do in their entire lifetime.

Jennifer Kushell is a perfect example for young generation to start business. At 13, she started her first small business – creating and selling hand-painted T-shirts. By the time she was 19, she’d started three other businesses and had just launched the Young Entrepreneurs Network, the first online network for young people trying to start their own companies. Now 30, Kushell is the author of Secrets of the Young & Successful: How to get everything you want without waiting a lifetime (published on 29 April 2003).

The most important lesson for young entrepreneurs reading this book is to be able to clearly articulate what you’re trying to do, or what you’re interested in. You don’t have a lot of time to pitch yourself and to pitch your ideas to people out there, and the clearer, concise and sophisticated your answers can be, the more people will pay attention to you.

Next, think you have to start working very early on to build your own credibility and your respect in the professional workplace or in your industry. The younger you are, the more people question what you know and what you’re capable of and if you go on in knowing that, you can start to join organisations, you can volunteer, you can even sit on boards. You can start to build up your bio early on and do research; you can hire interns; you can start to establish yourself in your community and your industry and become someone people know and respect.

When your knowledge base and your expertise overshadows your age, that is when you are in a position where you can truly do anything and not be limited by how young you are.

Plus, young entrepreneurs must understand and be able to clearly articulate both their history and where they are heading. We like to ask the question “What’s your story?” because it’s very important that young entrepreneurs can effectively communicate their story to others, especially in business. In order to have customers, vendors, potential investors, employees, etc. to buy into your vision, you must know how to communicate what both you and your business are all about.

Another important lesson from the book is that people can learn about “Real World University,” a concept of continuous learning and sculpting an environment to efficiently and effectively learn what you really need out in the real world. Unfortunately, the education system and parents can’t prepare everyone for what they really need to know once they’re out on their own – everyone learns differently and has different knowledge bases they need to be successful in life.

By identifying the areas you need to become an expert in business or industry and designing “classes” for yourself, an entrepreneur will set up a system to continually obtain new knowledge and wisdom over time. Attend Real World University, and your knowledge base and success will jump right past your competitors who think they know enough. Great entrepreneurs know that learning never stops!

Then, the author also introduces TAPPS, the Four Rs and the personal balance sheet.  TAPPS, which stands for Truth, Awareness, Preparations, Prevention and Survival, is an advance planning process that takes people through five simple steps to uncover how they might best approach a major challenge that could threaten to knock them off their path to success. It helps you identify the best possible approach to take to overcome the challenge, prior to the challenge occurring!

For entrepreneurs, there’s no denying that the path to achieving their dreams will inevitably have some bumps along the way. By applying TAPPS to a few of the top scenarios and mishaps that could potentially have the biggest impact on your life, you can rise to and overcome most challenges with great strength and clarity of mind.

The Four Rs is a tool to help people measure the level and kind of returns they can expect from their investment of Risk, Effort, Sacrifice and Time in their major life decisions. For entrepreneurs, this is a critical tool to use, as it enables them to think clearly and analyse if and why they should plow everything they have into a new idea or business. By determining the returns on each of the 4 Rs, they’ll be able to rest comfortably and confidently as they forge forward, knowing that they’ve carefully thought through all they could in advance and not second guess themselves.

The “personal balance sheet” is similar to the process of a balance sheet used by a company to take a snapshot of their financial health on any given day. It’s a terrific self-assessment tool that allows people to take a snapshot of their personal skills and abilities, as well as their current weaknesses and disadvantages, and then put this information to great use.

Islam also encourages a Muslim to start with business as it is an essential part of society. Islam makes the trading of goods and services one of the best means of earning our rizq.

Raafi’ ibn Khadeej (ra) said: “It was said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what kind of earning is best?’ He said: ‘For a man to work with his hands and every honest transaction.’” (Hadith hassan, Ahmed).

Planning will only get you so far. You need to go out and achieve your success. No one is going to hand it to you. As inspirational quotes from Walt Disney, co-founder of The Walt Disney Company, say, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”***

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