The 2008 financial crisis was such a devastating time for millions of people—that is precisely why we still can’t shrug it off. For me, though, the crisis marks the beginning of my journey towards success. I was 14 when the crisis hit its peak, threatening to take my father’s used car dealership down with it. It was a terrifying time for my family. I could hear my parents worrying while they thought I was asleep. It became very clear to me that we were struggling to pay for the bills.
That was also when I realized I didn’t have to be helpless. I started spending more time with my father, understanding how his business worked and thinking of ways to improve his inventory, which was the primary issue at the time. Soon enough I taught myself how to code while studying market trends, building my skillset until I had the chops to implement an online car-for-cash system. Not only did this save the family business, but it has now grown into one of the largest car-for-cash businesses in the nation. We buy vehicles from all over the country and continue to see steady growth. However, we started off buying cars in the San Diego area and the Riverside area.
When you’re seeking your own success, it has to begin with an entrepreneurial mindset. No matter the current set of variables that inform your life, if you’re looking to improve it, you need to think outside of it. That’s how I ultimately developed a solution for my father at such a young age. Beyond understanding how the business worked, I looked for gaps in how it wasn’t working and started to seek solutions.
Some people might brush this off, as many of us don’t imagine ourselves as entrepreneurs. But if you’re looking to create and innovate, embrace the label and run with it. Challenge yourself by testing your ideas, asking the question: “Is this really the best possible solution or product I can come up with?”
Read books that might inspire you. I read “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss. After reading this book, I gained a tangible perspective on what’s truly possible. We tend to hold on to this false assumption that success is only earned after long, strenuous hours. But by using collaborative teams and outsourcing aspects of your business, your work/life balance will drastically improve. And that’s something I wouldn’t have implemented as quickly had I not picked up Ferriss’ book.
In that vein, any kind of exposure to knowledge-building material should be sought out. You can never be over-informed, though being under-informed is a very real thing.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
In order to transform your ideas into a tangible reality, there’s one major hurdle you must get over: imposter syndrome. At age 14 I might’ve been unfamiliar with the term, but I was not unfamiliar with an incredible amount of self-doubt. I quickly found out, though, that such thoughts are incredibly unproductive. They serve only to stand in way of the full development of your skills and your ideas—so toss it aside for the time being.
Easier said than done, you might say. And there’s truth to that. As a kid, I relied on the supportive words of my parents. It’s important to have a community around you that you can turn to for encouragement or validation. Though you don’t technically need it, it makes a big difference mentally. Moreover, one of my best habits is daily exercise. I carve time out of my schedule every day to go for a run. Not only does this come with physical benefits, the power of exercise really shines in what it does for your mind. It helps you get rid of clutter and to focus on the tasks that matter most in the here and now.
An antonym for imposter syndrome may very well be confidence. Confidence is such an important element of success. Dare I say vital. When you are self-assured about what you are building and working towards, this will exude through your actions and words. Someone who possesses this quality is someone others will be drawn to. If you don’t believe in your own venture, then how are you supposed to convince anyone else to believe in it?
Not only is confidence a fantastic asset to squash any self-doubt, but it also amplifies your networking abilities and your sincerity when selling your ideas and products. Which brings me to the next piece of advice: know how to sell.
Know How to Sell
There’s much more to selling an idea or a product than a transaction. If you’re looking for cash flow, start working on your charisma and your knowledge. Study the industry that you’re in, or are seeking to enter. What are common consumer needs? Their pain points? How do competitors communicate with their clientele? Where in the market are you seeking to position yourself? An intricate understanding of your sales environment will inform your sales tactics and marketing efforts. These are tools that can dramatically improve your success when you implement them strategically.
These are some of the most important tools any person seeking success should get a hold of. My story is a testament to the fact that anyone can be successful with the right frame of mind and a strong sense of curiosity. Surely, there will be some bumps in the road—though none so big you cannot overcome them.
About the Author:
Sean Pour is the co-founder of SellMax a nationwide car buying service. He started the company when has fourteen years old, and has since scaled it into a nationwide company. Over the years he has learned a tremendous amount about business and growing companies. He enjoys sharing this info with other individuals in hopes to help them succeed.