Hi, I’m Karan Shah, founder and CEO of IIDE- a fast-growing centre for excellence in Digital Education. I’m currently in my mid-twenties, so it hasn’t been that long since I’ve been 18. Perhaps that’s why I can recall everything I did at that age so vividly, especially the mistakes that I’ve made, and what I did so differently that made me reach the level at which I am today.
I believe learning from others’ experiences can be one of the key characteristics in helping an individual succeed. Here are a few tips I can share to ease your passage into adulthood:
There’s learning beyond classrooms
College is something I only remember as one long, vague and utterly boring lecture in a non-descript classroom whose walls I spent hours staring at. Not saying I didn’t learn anything from there, but most of my learnings were outside the classroom.
I spent my college years productively – I went out to learn everything from public speaking skills and digital marketing to sales and running a business. And all of these I learned through joining public speaking clubs, my mentors, taking part in competitions, debates and learning from online courses and the internships I fore took. And with the advent of technology nowadays, there’s so much you can learn for free! (Could be something as fun as learning how to play the guitar or as extensive as what investment banking is.)
Live and Earn – Online
What does your average day at home look like? Wearing comfortable clothes, binging on food and scrolling through your social media feeds. Well, at 18, I not only did all of that, but also earned money on the side.
Let me tell you what I used to do. In my college days, with my social media panache, I worked on accounts of small businesses and offered them my services for getting them more ‘likes’ on Facebook. I charged them Rs. 5 per like, when it only cost me Rs. 0.5 per like.
The companies that hired me, valued a ‘like’ at 10x the cost price! I was able to bridge the gap between digital media and these companies, and earn a good buck out of it.
Blogging, e-commerce marketing, video editing, graphic designing, writing reviews, becoming an influencer, affiliate marketing, drop-shipping, are some other ways you can earn money off the internet.
In college, I was studying financial management. Today, I run a digital education institute. Where you start isn’t always where you’re meant to end up.
I absolutely understand the pressures of choosing the right career path. I went through that phase too. But I was able to find my footing and discover what I truly love by – ‘Exploring’.
During my student days, I used to intern at Edelweiss. I had a target of getting a set number of people to sign up for a demat account. I was failing; really badly. I desperately needed to find a solution. I got all my friends in one room and convinced them to take up a short course in financial markets just for Rs. 1,000. Since they all had little to no knowledge about investments, they realized the importance of the course.
After their weekend training, they automatically realized the importance of owning a demat. At the end of that month, I had not only exceeded my targets but I had also managed to sign up the highest number of demat accounts in the whole company.
This not only led me to meet my targets but also helped realized my true passion for education. Exploring is how you, too, can discover what your passions are. Don’t confine yourself to only college education, try a few internship opportunities as well.
College is the perfect time to intern. It’s that phase in your life where you have both the time and the energy to do internships, so why waste it? By the time you graduate, not only will you be sure about the career path you’re picking, but you’ll also have experience in the industry you plan to get into. This will definitely out you a step ahead from other people in your class!
Don’t just jump into a career that looks shiny and attractive. Intern in that field, and then intern in alternative fields as well. This will really help you decide what suits you best, and also give you an idea of what your life could look like ten years from now.
Save Money = Earn Money
It’s much easier going down a mountain than actually climbing it. Similarly, it’s always easier spending money than earning it. The art is not in earning money but keeping it. Be very cautious about how you spend your money, as the more you save, the more you earn. It’s a well known saying – ‘Don’t just work for your money, make your money work for you.’ You can do this by investing right.
I know, as an 18-year-old, investment and saving are words generally kept reserved only for your parents’ use, but trust me, it’s a decision your 28-year-old self will definitely thank you for. Warren Buffet’s is a story I’m sure everyone is familiar with. Now the most successful investor of all time, he began when he was just 11 years old, by purchasing a few shares.
Of course, I’m not asking you to pin all your money onto a few shares, and that too with limited knowledge. An ideal investment plan for a teenager would be a SIP – Systematic Investment Plan.