By Dan Grabham
Ted Nash is CEO and co-founder of mobile advertising exchange Tapdaq. He became the world’s youngest person to achieve 1m App Store downloads when 17 years-old and now, at 23, has just closed a $1.4m (£868,000) seed funding round for Tapdaq.
So Ted is in the perfect position to be offering guidance to other would-be entrepreneurs. Consider yourself a business prodigy? Then listen up.
If you’re not prepared to fail, you will never be original
To succeed, you must fail. As Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Success is walking from failure to failure with no real loss of enthusiasm.” To me, his words perfectly describe the journey you as a young entrepreneur are about to embark on. Don’t worry about failure; you only need to succeed once.
You’re young, so use that to your advantage. I’ve launched many businesses in 11 years, with 90% of those failing – but the most important lessons I learned throughout my career came with failure. There’s no doubt about it, talking about failure is much easier than actually experiencing it. It’s incredibly difficult, especially when a month of effort goes into taking an idea to reality.
Before my 15th birthday I created the search engine,, a cloud storage platform , travel agency TravelArena, and music site . I used my early years as an opportunity to experiment and learn; it’s all about understanding why you fail. When something doesn’t work, or quite go to plan, take time to reflect and look at what you need to do differently next time.
Be willing to make sacrifices
Without a doubt, you’ll have to make sacrifices in order to deliver your vision and make your company a success. Business isn’t easy, and statistically you’re more likely to fail than succeed. No entrepreneur should look at business as a 90% chance of failure, it should be looked at as a 10% chance to change the world.
Taking your business forward is difficult; the bigger it gets, the faster decisions have to be made. If you ask any entrepreneur in today’s society you’ll quickly realise that he or she will have sacrificed quality time with both friends and family and worked around the clock for months – maybe years – on end. There are no ways to avoid sacrifice, but if you’re driven enough to succeed – sacrifices become second nature, they just happen. As Martin Luther King said, “nothing worthwhile is gained without sacrifice.”
A few people in the world will change your life forever
With so many opportunities, distractions and changes in the world, how do you know you’re making the right decision and taking your business in the right direction? Basically you don’t until the result.
When I look back at my journey so far, it’s very clear that I met a few people who changed my life, and after speaking to other entrepreneur friends they could relate to that thought. There are a few people in the world who could change your life forever. The challenge is finding them; and unfortunately many young entrepreneurs never do, because they don’t know the person they need even exists.
It’s a difficult concept to grasp but it’s true. For me, I have been incredibly lucky to have been mentored by Steve Pankhurst (cofounder of Friends Reunited) from a young age. I owe a huge amount to Steve – although perhaps clichéd – I wouldn’t be where I am today without his support, personal backing and motivation through the ups and downs. It makes the path to success so much more accessible if you’re with the right people. The encouragement, support and networking opportunities they can provide are invaluable.
Immerse yourself in what you are doing and constantly move out of your comfort zone. It’s often in the unknown you’ll find the people you didn’t know you should have been looking for.
Get out and network
The point above leads nicely into the exact reasons why you should be getting yourself out there at every opportunity. Go to events, awards, networking evenings – talk to people every day as you never know when you’ll meet the person that could become your mentor, investor, or even just the person who gives you that invaluable piece of advice.
It can be daunting when you’re in a building full of peers that you haven’t met, but be confident and approach them. Relationships are built on rapport, so be honest, friendly and have a sense of humour. Win people over with your open enthusiasm for your business and the industry it operates in.
Lastly, just listen. Listen to people intensely; you’ll be amazed at what you can learn during the briefest of conversations.
Let your passion drive you and the rest will follow
You have to be driven by your passion – then the money will eventually follow. It’s no secret – the endless hours of hard work come long before the money does. For me personally, I get a huge sense of fulfillment from helping others and ensuring their success, that’s what drives me on. I’ve usually built products and solutions for problems that I’ve faced personally as a developer and my ultimate aim is to generate significant value for other people.
I know that if I create something of value – I’ll not only benefit financially in the long run, but emotionally as well. Financial success is of course important, but that’ll only come once you’ve mastered providing the solution to the problem you’ve identified when launching your business.
Protect your time
The only thing humans can’t buy, is more time. What that means is you have to be quick to say ‘no’. If you say no, it’s not because you don’t believe in the people you are speaking with, it’s because they take time, time that you won’t ever get back, time that can be spent building your vision.
Saying no is one of the common traits between the great entrepreneurs. You must not be distracted by what happens today, focus on tomorrow and always look at the bigger picture.
This article originally appeared on Life Hacker