People ask me how I knew so young what I wanted to do with my life. Honestly, I never had a clue. I never knew that I wanted to be a telemarketer, a banker, an 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 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.
Almost no one knows how to make their first million or what their next 10 years 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.
Learn From 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 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 in order to learn 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 earlier stages, it took me 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 to improve, which ultimately allowed me to do fewer of the same tasks with better results and focus on other things.
Focus on Your Work Ethic
What took others weeks of practice took me a day, which meant that I was learning and adapting faster because I had adopted a more 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 that 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 over 30 percent year after year.
In the process, I finally discovered what I enjoyed doing. And eventually getting fired reinforced my best option of all: becoming 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. It was because of my constant need to move forward that I eventually identified opportunities within my niche that put me on my current path running a company. Don’t look for your purpose or the type of work you should be doing. Rather, find purpose in the work you do, no matter what it is or how much you like it.
Identify Patterns for Success
When I identify that patterns that helped me succeed, I see that I never really knew my destination. 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.
Pejman Ghadimi is the author of “Third Circle Theory,” a powerful book explaining how some of today’s top visionaries are made. Since the age of 25, he has been finacnially independent and has decided his time to bringing Secret Entourage and Secret Academy to life, a unique platform that focuses on helping motivate, educate and improve the lives of young entrepreneurs worldwide.
BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.