They say, “he who laughs last, laughs best”. The old adage certainly rings true for the young entrepreneur, Ollie Forsyth. Being a dyslexic, Ollie couldn’t read until he was 15 and was bullied at school. But that could not stop him from his “hunger for success” and he is now having his last laugh after his classmates have sought help from him in developing their business. Ollie believes that one does not need a degree in order to be an influencer but rather needs to find their passion and be courageous enough in chasing their dreams. With a bag full of confidence, this 18 year old fledgling businessman had eight business operations under his wing at present.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS EPISODE
- Ollie Forsyth has been shortlisted for the Great British Entrepreneur Award for The Budding Entrepreneur Magazine in UK, USA and Germany.
- Ollie Forsyth has now been declared as an Ambassador for the Xavier Project.
- Ollie has visited India recently. He finds that there’s no place in India where opportunities cannot be found.
QUOTES AND TAKEAWAYS
- “I was a little different, I couldn’t read until I was 15, I was bullied but I always had a hunger for success.”
- “I loved the idea of having that idea on a piece of paper then turning into a product or service.”
- “It’s one of those things you just have to leave behind you and prove them wrong because you are the one who is going to be a major success and if they come and ask you for a job, well , that’s when you’ve proved them wrong.”
- “Do it well then the cash will come later!”
What inclined you take your first entrepreneurial plunge? Did you always plan on building your own career independently or was it an effect of any specific incident?
So I was a little different, I couldn’t read until I was 15, I was dyslexic, I was bullied but I always had a hunger for success. I always wanted to aspire to be like Sir Richard Branson and people including, Steve Jobs. I loved the idea of having that idea on a piece of paper then turning it into a product or service.
I had a business whilst at school which was great and that taught me a lot but I am a great believer in, if school or university is not for you, then follow your dream, get some work experience, then an apprenticeship, then you have a job by the time your 20! I am really not academic what so ever however, you have to find your passion before you leave school.
You suffered from dyslexic as a result of which many a times you were bullied in school. Did those incidents stand as motivator in your career or did you find them to be hurdles?
They were extremely motivating. I think having dyslexia certainly makes you very creative and a little wacky! Being bullied wasn’t great but it’s one of those things you just have to leave behind you and prove them wrong your the one who is going to be a major success and if they come and ask you for a job, well, that’s when you’ve proved them wrong. However, I never understood why it was me, I was the target, I had a business at school, I was getting a lot of coverage around the world, celebrities supporting me, so I believe part of it was jealously but I have left them behind me now.
There are eight successful business ventures operating under you at present. Can you take through a day at work? What entrepreneurial hacks have you developed to keep your day productive?
Sure, so my day would start at 5am, I always read the news in the morning, I believe it’s very important to know what’s going on in the world. I would do my emails whilst watching the news, then throughout the day, it might be meeting new people, people pitching to me, conference calls, meetings, I do a lot of public speaking at Universities which is great fun and my day would finish off at around midnight, sometimes 1am, 2am. I work best either very late at night or in the early hours of the morning. Some of my ventures include, Somato, UniBell and I’m working on two very interesting projects that will be live soon.
Do you seek inspiration from somewhere?
There’s inspiration all around us, when you walk around London, you see creativity all around you but my main inspiration comes from Sir Richard Branson, he left school aged 16 without qualifications with dyslexia, so did I and it proves you don’t need a degrees to be a influencer. I am not an academic person therefore, if you’re not academic, find your passion, get some experience, get an apprenticeship, work there for 5-10 years in different roles, then if you have the courage, start your own business. Make sure you know what you want to do before you leave school or college, I find it stressing when people tell me they have know idea what they want to do as a job and some of them are 21….
You have also been shortlisted for the Great British Entrepreneurs award for your magazine The Budding Entrepreneur Magazine in the UK, USA, Germany. How do you go about building an organisational culture in a company?
I always look into their demographics, what are their trends, what’s changing in their economy. Something that has become massive recently is the peer-to-peer market, if you look into countries such as India which I visited recently, you see opportunity all around you.
You have to expand quickly before someone beats you to it. But, you have to have a great team all around you. If you have a great business, a great team you will find you will grow a lot quicker as people are so much more motivated.
Do you find a difference in the startup ecosystem in Germany and UK? If so, then can you tell us why?
Depending where you launch a startup, every country has a different startup system. Germany is interesting but America is sensational. You have to really look into the demographics when you launch a startup. Who are your customers, what makes you stand out in front of the crowd? If you have a brilliant USP and it fits well with that startup ecosystem, then hopefully it will succeed. When launching a startup or expanding your business, you will make mistakes but learn from them and use that to teach other startups your failures do’s and do not’s.
Looking back, which moment has been the most exhilarating moment of your journey?
So much has happened, you meet some amazing people including Richard Branson, being voted #3 most influential teen by The Times Magazine was amazing, a runner up in this years, The Queens Young Leaders Award was really special. I am also incredibly excited to be an Ambassador for the Xavier Project. I am a great believer in spending some time giving back, I tell you, if the majority of entrepreneurs did it, this world would be very different.
What your message for startups who are at the pilot stage?
Do something you love and really enjoy! Do something that get’s you out of bed in the morning, surround yourself with the right people, having 8 companies under my present, all those connections I made years ago are very useful in some of the companies I work with today. Network as much as you can, build as many connections as you can. Startifi is a great social networking platform for startups, entrepreneurs and investors, so join that today! (I am involved in that company too)
Finally, don’t think about how much money you can make, think about what you can do differently, do it well then the cash will come later!
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