I was walking in the streets of downtown Toronto, in the heart of the financial district. At the time I was being stood up by a female friend of mine, but that didn’t matter. Bay Street is where all the big financial companies reside – accounting firms such as Deloitte and KPMG to banks like CIBC and BMO. There’s no other place in the city of Toronto that you would be able to find the feeling where people literally live and breathe success.
Being in the area of the some of the biggest companies in Canada, it made me feel small. It made me feel like an outcast. It made me want to be a part of the group of people who were savvy with numbers and the very people who drive the economy. But at the same time I wanted something far grander, far beyond anyone would even imagine. Something that I couldn’t even fathom. Being the owner of a multimillion dollar company that had an instantaneous reaction to my last name.
It’s a great feeling to want something big, in fact there’s so many possibilities and ideas that can be built from the ground up and turn into a success over time. There’s no such thing as an overnight success, because even nowadays in the technological and social media titans such as Facebook still required 6 years of development before it caught on to the user base and valuation that it currently holds.
Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t easy. Every career is unique. I grew up in a very business oriented family and I strive to hit it big. Having started The International Passion I have already learned a lot about what it takes – and it’s very tiring. As an entrepreneur you have to be relentless and have endless determination. School is a foundation for many jobs but not always applicable when becoming an entrepreneur. Ideas don’t come from the textbooks. Everyone wants a “stable” job. But are the jobs people work so hard to strive for really that stable? During 2008, millions of jobs were cut, cash flow in companies slowed down to a halt resulting in many to close down. Starting up your own company is a big risk. I’ve always been one to embrace the risk and look at the risk as an opportunity instead of looking at it from a negative perspective.
Whether you want to become an entrepreneur, a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, or a designer you must be willing to work hard and out learn everyone else who is around you or in your industry. In today’s world, everyone wants to be heard and everyone wants to be that icon – but the truth is no one becomes an icon unless they’ve out worked and out learned everyone else.
A few things that no matter what path you take, which you would have to keep in mind.
1. Value – Being part of the Generation Y (or millennials, whichever one you want to call it), everyone wants to be the next big thing. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter just went public very recently and they’re companies that are very young. WhatsApp and Instagram were both purchased by Facebook and they’re also very young companies. The common denominator? Value. The value of their websites are astronomical. Facebook and Twitter allowed people to connect instantaneously. The value from Instagram comes from doing one thing very well – making pictures look better. WhatsApp’s value derives from being able to communicate with anyone in the world for free instantaneously, which is why it was acquired by Facebook for such a large price tag.
2. Focus on the problem, not the idea – Regardless of whether you’re working in investment banking, accounting, human resources, or customer service – there’s bound to be problems. Problems are the driving factor of what creates a successful business model. Being the one to find and develop a solution to the problem is one of the best things that you can do to revolutionize not only your industry, but the world. People often tend to fall in love with their idea – which is the wrong mindset to be in. There are several ways to find the solution to a problem, there isn’t just one. Is your solution the best?
3. Execution – Execution goes hand in hand with focusing on the problem. Why? It’s the sole determining factor of whether it’ll be effective or not. Take social media for example. Facebook revolutionized social media, but along with everything, it has its predecessors. MySpace was a social media juggernaut back during its prime days, but Facebook was cleaner, more attractive, and the hype backing Facebook was huge. All of those three aspects fall under execution. Another example is Tesla – once upon a time it was amongst the top ranks of the most shorted stock on the market. Now, it’s the most innovative car company of our time. Musk created a way of executing his idea and proved everybody wrong when no one thought Tesla would make it in the car industry. Apple is another company that designed smartphones with such great execution and attention to detail, that we all fell in love with the iPhone, and single handedly raised the bar on how smartphones should be today.
Those three things are essential to being successful in today’s world, and if you’re able to introduce something new with great value that solves a problem and execute it properly, you’re definitely on your way to becoming a millionaire.