Any young entrepreneur seeking direction or advice can find thousands of literary titles offering “keys to success.” Get up earlier. Practice regular meditation. Model your daily habits after the titans of enterprise.
Ask 10 different CEOs, you’ll likely get 10 different answers. After single-handedly building a multi-million dollar IT company and expanding it into an empire that now encompasses film, music, wellness, and more, serial entrepreneur Tel K. Ganesan is here to show the world a success philosophy that is surprisingly simple, yet deeply profound: do what makes you happy.
Ganesan’s enterprises include Kyyba, Inc., Kyyba Films, Kyyba Wellness, Kyyba Fashions, and Kyyba Music. He is the founder of two non-profits, including TieCon (Talent, Ideas, Enterprise) Detroit – the global organization behind TiECon, the world’s largest entrepreneurial conference – and Kyyba Kidz, dedicated to uplifting underprivileged women and orphans.
Throughout every venture, his guiding principle centers on entrepreneurship as an effort to make people happy by solving their problems. And, according to Ganesan, “Only a truly happy person can spread happiness to others.”
“Only a truly happy person can spread happiness to others.”
While happiness is an emotion-based state of being, Ganesan is not advocating building one’s business based solely on emotions. Instead, he maintains that healthy growth is balancing happiness with self-control.
In this paradigm, decisions are made during moments of composure, rather than in the adrenaline rush of initial excitement. To help guide the introspective process, Ganesan asks himself three key questions:
- Will this make me happy in the long run?
- Am I helping others through my activity or task?
- What would be the aftermath of my decision?
Forget instant gratification and focus on long-term satisfaction
Ganesan’s success philosophy is less about immediate gratification than long-term satisfaction. And just because an opportunity passes the happiness test does not necessarily mean it will be easy to achieve. The yin and yang of business are, in Ganesan’s view, balancing happiness with aspects like hard work, strategic planning, knowledge acquisition, and surrounding yourself with the right team. (Then, make sure to empower your team to derive happiness from the process, as well).
Following this approach, he finds a powerful rush in doing things that others are afraid to attempt. But striving to achieve difficult goals means that, even when all elements are in order, setbacks are bound to happen.
Earlier in his career, Ganesan purchased a handful of companies without proper due diligence and experienced a financial tsunami when the 2008 recession hit. What did he do? He leaned into more of what made him happy, managing his responsibilities while continuing to pursue creative ventures. In every setback, there is a lesson or two. And each challenge taught Ganesan to seriously consider the “worst case scenario” before making big decisions. That way, he could plan for any unwanted outcome while working toward the most desirable.
Three pieces of advice for young entrepreneurs
Ganesan is a sought-after speaker and mentor for young entrepreneurs, inspired by the next generation of problem-solvers. His key pieces of advice include:
- Intentionally build your confidence – entrepreneurship is for the brave few who are ready to think differently and withstand the odds
- Focus on people – strive to understand your customers and their needs while also expanding your professional network
- Train your mind and body – make rest a regular practice and do not confuse hard work with stress
- Actively level up your comfort zone – keep your mind open to new ideas and adapt to change
Ganesan is consistently impressed by the courage of tomorrow’s entrepreneurial leaders and by their determination to try new things. But he also cautions them to remember that, in the process of making their mark, a meaningful life is built by helping others and creating happiness for those who are underserved. “Entrepreneurs have an important task of making this world a better place to live for everyone,” he says. Because ultimately, true success is found not just in reaching the top but by spreading happiness along the way.
Tel K. Ganesan is a serial entrepreneur, movie producer & distributor, motivational speaker, investor, and philanthropist, who is both highly celebrated and recognized as the founder and executive chairman of Kyyba Inc. With more than 700 employees and millions in revenue, Kyyba is a thriving, Michigan-headquartered global IT with a robust portfolio that includes engineering, professional staff augmentation, Emerging Technologies, and R & D to advance innovation. And while Kyyba Inc is booming in IT, Ganesan has scaled and advanced the company to include health & wellness, and entertainment, giving way to a global film production and distribution company, Kyyba Films. Projects include the Marksman, Christmas Coupon, Look Away, Devil’s Night: Dawn of the Rain Rouge, One More Dream, Celebrity Crush, Brooklyn Knight, And You Call Yourself a Christian, 18 1/2, and Trap City (post-production).
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