If you were to ask me how I knew, at such a young age, what I wanted to do with my life, my honest answer is this: “Honestly, I never had a clue.”
I never knew I wanted to be a telemarketer, banker, entrepreneur, or any of the things that made me who I am today. I only knew that I wanted to be wealthy and financially free. But like every other young person, I had no idea how or where to start.
I faced a definitive choice as a lost teenager: do something or do nothing. Although I didn’t think my first job at 15 was going to make me a millionaire, I knew it was better than doing nothing.
Do Something, Or Do Nothing
Almost no one knows how to make their first million or what the next 10 years of their life will look like. Nevertheless, anyone can start taking steps toward a goal.
It can be as simple as buying a house, a car, or putting a large amount of money in a savings account. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it moves you forward, even when the path seems unclear.
Here are a few strategies that were useful for me.
Repetition and Effort
When I became a telemarketer, I learned how critical it was to make the most of every hour, since I had to be there 40 hours a week anyway. By implementing this ideal into my work, I increased my paycheck from $300 a week to $2,500 in sales. I knew that being at work doing nothing wouldn’t move me forward, but by being extra productive I had a chance at a promotion, a raise or commissions.
Not only was this process important (it taught me a great work ethic), it also helped me absorb even more skills as I spent more time on actual business tasks like selling, fulfilling service requests and asking for referrals.
In the early days, it took me approximately 100 phone calls to close a sale, since I had no strategy or pitch. But with every 100 calls, I identified patterns that allowed my next 100 calls to improve, which ultimately allowed me to do fewer of the same tasks with better results and then to focus on other things.
What took others weeks of practice took me a day, which meant I was learning and adapting quickly. I attribute this to an aggressive work ethic.
The results were good: by 18, I managed the entire company, which opened the door to managing a bank the same year. Over time, I realized I wasn’t the best at a banker’s role. I didn’t enjoy it. But through hard work and exposure to new things — such as training others and learning the sales process — I recognized that I was great at leading.
I liked helping others perform their roles and enjoyed the responsibility. By becoming a leader I was also able to spend time in the company of those I wished to work for in the future, instead of my immediate boss. This opened up senior level roles, since the right executives noticed my efforts. It enabled me to increase my salary by 30 percent year after year.
In the process, I finally discovered what I enjoyed doing. Eventually getting fired reinforced my best option of all: to become self-sufficient.
For me, becoming an entrepreneur didn’t come out of a brilliant idea, but rather started from the basic need to survive while continuing to grow. My constant need to move forward forced me to eventually identify opportunities within my niche that put me on my current path to running a company.
I never really knew my destination. My ability to identify patterns helped me to succeed. In most cases, I didn’t even know why I worked at a particular company. I simply refused to stand still.
I wanted to move forward because ultimately, even when you don’t know which direction you’re taking or can’t see where you’re headed, you can still choose to move ahead. Every destination has a path and at some point, that destination becomes home.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Pejman Ghadimi is the founder and CEO of Secret Entourage, a unique organization which focuses on helping motivate and improve the lives of young entrepreneurs worldwide. He is also the author of Third Circle Theory, a powerful theory which explains how some of today’s top visionaries are made. In his past 10 years, Pejman has held multiple leadership roles at the Vice President level for Fortune 500 companies and has established several successful off-line businesses including Secret Consulting, and VIP Motoring. Connect with @secretentourage on Twitter.
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