From humble beginnings selling belts and plastic watchbands, Li Ka-Shing’s net worth is now estimated at $34.6 billion. What did this Genius do to achieve this feat?
“Appreciate Each Cycle of Your Life (Including the Young and Broke Part!)”
Ka-Shing advises young entrepreneurs to embrace their situation. Bootstrapping a business or struggling to earn your daily bread is nothing to be ashamed of. You start young with virtually no money to your name, and you work hard to get a better life… That’s just how it should be.
Ka-Shing started his first business when he was 22 (the 1950s) with only HK$ 50,000 (US$ 6450) in the capital. What he lacked in funds, he made up for in his desire to learn and innovate. Despite his humongous wealth, Ka-Shing hasn’t forgotten his humble beginnings.
“The fruit that you eat will never taste as beautiful as the fruit that I ate during the turmoil of war” – Ka-Shing often says to his two children.
When success finally comes knocking at your door, enjoy every bit of it. Just as you should embrace the challenges life throws at you, you should also enjoy your well-deserved pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
“Don’t Let Your Ego Limit You”
Li Ka-Shing wore a $45 (£30) watch for years! Unbelievable right?
And he made sure everyone knows about it!
His ego and money didn’t rule him.
The golden rule applies to everyone even if you have nothing substantial to give.
“Don’t’ be calculative,” says Ka-Shing. Open yourself to all kinds of work: odd jobs, apprenticeships, or volunteering, this is how you gain experience. When he was 15, he worked at a factory producing plastic watch bands for 16 hours a day. His poverty, sickness, and even the war didn’t stop him. Yes, some people might take advantage of you but that is part of the learning process.
“Build Your Network, One Dinner At A Time”
Ka-Shing is famous for advising people to expand their network by inviting people to eat out. Coffee is so cliché. It’s as if you’re saying the person’s time is chump change for you. Take people for proper meals instead, and always foot the bill. Uber fancy dinners are not required, of course.
Be selective of who you invite, though. Find people with more experience and bigger dreams than you. Choose people you can learn from, and allot a budget to do this every month. In a year, you’ll have a big network than can generate tremendous value for you in terms of connections, support, knowledge, and opportunities.
“Learn To Sell Well”
Many of today’s self-made billionaires had a sales job at least at one point in their lives, such as Ralph Lauren who had a sales job at Brooks Brothers, and Charles Schwab who once sold poultry. Ka-Shing is no different. At 19, he became the general manager of the factory he worked for after he outsold everyone in his department. His total sales were seven times more than the top 2 agents, so if the company were to pay him the correct commission, he’d receive more than the manager. Everyone was jealous, and he knew this.
But like a good leader who knows the value of camaraderie in a team, he voluntarily accepted to receive less–the same commission as the top 2 salesman–to avoid the jealousy of his then manager and teammates.
Think you’re too good to study sales?
You’re limiting yourself and you don’t even know it.
Knowing how to sell will open doors you never knew existed, things only possible if you know how to persuade others to believe in your vision.
“Cultivate An Insatiable Appetite For Reading”
“If I have a rare vacation, I will spend it reading,” admits Ka-Shing.
Ka-Shing’s father was a principal for a primary school before he passed away, so he probably inherited his father’s love of reading and learning. While he prefers books about history, technology, and philosophy, he doesn’t limit his reading list to these subjects. He also reads trade journals, business books and anything related to the industries he’s involved in.
“Inspire Greatness In Others”
A leader inspires others to greatness. A boss will dominate his subordinates and make them feel small.
You’re the boss. How you lead others is up to you but if you want a great team, the only way is to make them WANT to follow you. Pushing your team to their limits and being decisive, are qualities we would want to imbibe from Ka-Shing.
When he invested in Spotify, he had it installed in his car, way before the now-famous streaming service became a ubiquitous app. Then he asked the CEO when the app will become available to all other cars. In a way, he pushed Spotify to their limits and inspired them to greatness. He’s also known for making lightning-quick decisions, like his 5-minute decision to invest $120 million in Facebook.
Starting a business is never easy, that’s why you have to learn all you can and do all you can before you even think of starting one. The front-loaded hard work you do in preparation for any endeavor trumps opportunities. In an interview with Forbes, he offers this advice to young entrepreneurs “if you don’t work hard, opportunities will slip away.” All in all, Li Ka Shing means to transpire that whatever opportunities we get we should grab it as quickly as possible. Just like you might miss out on a golden opportunity to explore the world of MagTapp. So go ahead and download the app for an enriched browsing experience.
“Because You Are A Genius”