After working with Sir Richard Branson, award-winning founder of The Living Dream, Zoe Jackson, shares her secrets on how to be a successful young entrepreneur.
It is tough to be an entrepreneur! You will need to grow a thick skin, have bags of energy, passion and determination to get to where you want to be.
I believe that the power of networking – getting out there, talking to people and building relationships – are key to making things happen. Networking isn’t just about promoting your business, it’s about building and developing relationships with people, while looking for opportunities to help and connect people. And although some might not be able to immediately return the favour, unexpected opportunities may come from unexpected people.
Have the confidence to ask for advice or potential contacts because you never know, their help or connections could be invaluable. Listen to family and friends too, and have the confidence to contact people for advice that inspire you the most, even if they are celebrities!
While I was at university I wrote to hundreds of celebrities asking for advice and support for Living the Dream. The famous actor Alan Rickman responded to my letter, invited me for lunch and gave me some incredible advice which really helped me.
Do some good
I’ve learned from Richard Branson’s business philosophy: “Have fun, do good and the business will come”. I sincerely endorse his view that every business has a moral obligation to make a significant positive difference in today’s world. The key is to help others selflessly in any way you can, and the karma will return to you when you need it most.
Do the right thing
No matter what the costs of doing the right thing might be – do it. Your integrity and reputation are all you have in business and in life – it’s forever. If you always choose to do the right thing, it won’t matter what the outcome is because you will be successful as a human being, which is true success.
Believe in yourself
The belief you have in yourself and your business idea is your most precious commodity, and communicating your passion about your product or service will make people remember you.
Keep believing and dreaming because if you put your mind to it you can make it happen. I have had so many knock-backs, tough decisions to make and obstacles to overcome, but I am so passionate about what I do and that keeps me fired up to push forward and achieve my dreams. Stay passionate and inspired and remember that out of a crisis comes an opportunity.
Don’t forget, when things go well, pat yourself on the back.