One of the best ways to learn from others’ mistakes is to heed their advice. They’ve been where you are. Why should you have to suffer through similar mistakes when you can learn from others who have come before you? Of course, it pays to be selective with whose advice you’re following. Hopefully, it’ll be from someone that is successful and whose success you’d like to emulate to some degree.
Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has this advice for young women looking to break into the corporate sector: “You do the same thing a male will do. You follow your passions. You find something you love. The truth is, so few people really jump on their jobs, you really will stand out more than you think. You will get noticed if you really go for it.”
Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-founder of DreamWorks has a unique take on reaching financial, as well as general career success. “I don’t think it matters how small or how big the task is, if you can do it just a little bit better than what is expected, you will be noticed and rewarded. At DreamWorks, with every movie we make, we start out with the ambition and the goal to exceed the expectations of our audience. We may not succeed every time, and you may not either, but we sure do try.”
Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo believes that you can never know it all, as her advice suggests: “Never stop learning. Whether you’re an entry level employee fresh out of college or a CEO, you don’t know it all. Admitting this is not a sign of weakness. The strongest leaders are those who are lifelong students.”
More Sage Advice for Personal Business from Fortune 500 Owners
Getting into the fray, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon once said, “Given a 10% chance of a 100-times pay out, you should take that bet every time.” Put simply, you will need to take bold personal business decisions in order to achieve great success. While it’s impossible to succeed every single time, you can still earn a lot to help you arrive at that big pay out in future.
Take the example of Amazon Marketplace. It failed within it first two launch attempts, but by the third time, it achieved incredible success. To date, it contributes to nearly half of Amazon’s sales.
Keep in mind that being successful today doesn’t mean you’ll be relevant in future. Simply look at Blockbuster as the perfect case in point. Jacob Munns, CEO of Boomsourcing explains that, “You can never assume your industry will stay the same forever. If you don’t innovate, someone else will — and you’ll get left behind.”
Bezos’s vision helped Amazon to grow into the behemoth it is today, because he recognised the potential for personalising e-commerce. Making this his focus, he continued to change and iterate in order to stay successful and, importantly, relevant.
The Buffett Effect
Another golden insight from one of the best long-term investors of all time is this quote: “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” The lesson Buffett is trying to convey here is that you need to be a forward thinker with regards to your personal business and finance. This is true whether you’re considering saving, spending or investing.
An easy way to put this into perspective when you’re thinking of putting money away for a rainy day is to think of a financial emergency happening right now, and how some rainy-day money would’ve made your life that much easier. Avoid the trap of getting into a get-rich-quick scheme, and rather plan ahead.
If you’re ever in any doubt about what you’re doing, then think about what Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors said, “Life is too short to work for a company or be in a position that you don’t love.” Food for thought.
Tips for Financial Success Every Young Professional should Know about Personal Business
Personal finance is just that, personal. Financial emancipation looks different for every person, but there are a few golden threads you can pull through most successful people’s journeys. According to Jeffrey Alford of Fidelity Investments LLC, financial success and emancipation starts with a budget.
Before you’re able to make any informed financial decisions regarding paying off debt, making purchases or saving, you need a comprehensive budget that takes into account income, monthly expenses and any debt you may have, Alford says.
“It’s important that you prioritise essential expenses, versus discretionary expenses,” Alford continues. “Essential expenses are the non-negotiables, and regardless of what’s happening in the economy, you have to pay these bills in order to survive.”
The Ever-Important Emergency Fund
After setting up the budget, it’s time to set up an emergency fund. “Before you start paying off any additional debt besides the minimum monthly payments that you have to pay, you’ll want to build a solid emergency fund,” Alford says. It’s important to plan for unexpected expenses, as it can have a great financial impact on you.
Ultimately, your journey to financial success will be unique, but that doesn’t mean you have to go at it alone. Tap into the experience and insights of others, and learn from those who have come before you.
Louis Stevens can often be found trawling the Internet for interesting reads on finance. When not writing for local South African credit life insurance company, Yalu, Louis loves reading about writing.