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Monthly Archives: October 2014

Piers Linney started his now-successful career as an information technology entrepreneur at a young age, thus, he is neither a late bloomer nor a wallflower. His first job was as a paperboy for various newspaper agents when he was just 14 years old, a job that he soon turned into his own buy-and-sell business by becoming a direct agent of suppliers.

Linney is not just an entrepreneur who dropped out of school to pursue his dreams either. He completed his accounting and law degrees before becoming a qualified solicitor in 1997, a qualification that opened doors for him as a specialist in venture capitalism and corporate finance at SJ Berwin.

But while working for the renowned law firm and, in subsequent years with the likes of Barclays de Zoete Wedd and Credit Suisse, he also kept his hand in the proverbial entrepreneurial pot. He was also actively involved in other business ventures in business services, film and media.

Nowadays, Linney has left his corporate career to focus on his own businesses particularly Outsoucery as co-chief executive officer.

Alexender Amosu is not just an avid user of mobile phones, one of the most ubiquitous personal gadgets in the 21st century. He is also an entrepreneur who has made and continues to make money from their popularity. He has what we may call an amore relationship with mobile phones, one that he is benefiting the most from in many ways.

Amosu was not born into a rich family but he had the drive and determination to succeed in life – or as he says it, he did not want to be poor anymore. At a young age, he was already a hardworking person with his first job being a paperboy and his first purchase being Nike trainers.

He took on various small business ventures including providing cleaning services and organizing parties while studying for his computer engineering degree. But his plans soon changed and he quit his university studies when he first hit on a mobile phone-related idea.

Amosu created a ringtone based on Jay Z’s Big Pimpin’ tune on his Nokia 3210 cellphone and then sent it to his brother. The ringtone soon became popular and many started asking for it – and this is where Amosu’s entrepreneurial instincts kicked in. He charged £1 each download.

He had little to no competition then because he concentrated on the R&B market; most of his competitors provided pop music ringtones. Soon, he rented an office, hired 21 employees, and placed advertisements to promote his business, all while raking in £1.6 million in the first year and then £6.3 million in the next three years. In 2004, he sold his business for £9 million when the market became saturated.

Nowadays, Amosu still has his love affair with cellphones albeit in a different manner. He makes customized phones encrusted with gemstones and made in gold for his wealthy clientele.

Few people can say that they have lived on both sides of the camera – in front and behind it.  Darryn Lyons can take the honor, thus, saying that he lives for media is a safe thing to say indeed.

Lyons is a former paparazzo and a newspaper photographer with many media outfits including News of the World and Daily Mail. He is also the founder of Big Pictures, a media outfit  that provided paparazzi-style photographs to various news organizations; he was the one who supplied the incriminating pictures of David Beckham and his personal assistant in an extramarital affair.

But Lyons has also worked in front of the camera in many instances via his appearances on television and radio shows.  His appearances include as weekly commentator on Sky News Sunrise Program, Alan Titchmarsh Show, and LK Today; as business expert on Dragon’s Den; and as participant in the celebrity Big Brother 8 in the United Kingdom.

Indeed, making a name for yourself in front and behind the camera is Lyon’s calling and he appears to be succeeding at it.

You either have it you don’t. In case of Kelly Hoppen, she has “it” when it comes to interior design, thus, her knack for making it look so easy when it is not as easy as it sounds.

Hoppen is a well-known interior designer, author, and product designer who started her successful career in a humble way – when a family friend commissioned her services in the design of their kitchen. Today, her lengthy list of clients include Martin Shaw as well as David and Victoria Beckham, among others, who have their homes, jets and yachts designed in Hoppen’s trademark – a calm and balanced environment evoking the Eastern sensibility.

Indeed, Hoppen designs with a trademark philosophy – how people feel within a space is just as important as its appearance so much so that one without the other will not work as well as expected. She uses neutral palettes to design the interiors, thus, making it possible to play off contrasts in an elegant, stylish and trendy ways.

Hoppen is the owner of Kelly Hoppen Interiors as well as the designer of a range of high-street home furnishing products known as KHome. The range includes many things that homeowners will want to beautify their homes, the Kelly Hoppen way, including chinaware, art, furniture, fabrics, carpets, and bathroom accessories, among others.

She even has a line of wallpapers manufactured in collaboration with Graham and Brown. Let’s just say that Hoppen is unstoppable in her line of work and we may well see her becoming the queen in her market niche.

Hoppen is also an author of interior designing books. Her titles include Kelly Hoppen Design Masterclass – How to Achieve the Home of Your Dreams, East Meets West, and Kelly Hoppen, Home – From Concept To Reality, among others. People who want the Hoppen interior designing sensibility can get tips, suggestions and advice from her books and perhaps be part of her magic.

No, Sahil Lavingia is not your average salesman. Yes, he is a talented designer and successful serial entrepreneur making his mark in the industry.

Lavingia has plenty of experiences under his belt. He is the co-founder of Crate (October 2010); the founder of Little Bug Things (August 2010); and the founder and chief executive officer of Gumroad. He was also one of the designers and engineers of Pinterest (2010-2011), a work experience that he parlayed into his successful Gumroad business today.

Lavingia founded Gumroad in 2011 as a website that assists people in selling their items in an online venue. The company has significantly grown in the past few years, thanks in part to the $8.1 million funding raised from several well-known venture capitalist firms including SV Angels, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Collaborative Fund.

One of the signs of success for Gumroad is the use of its services by the likes of Wiz Khalifa, David Banner, and Girl Talk, all of whom are world-famous artists. We may yet see Gumroad taking on its larger competitors and giving them a run for their money.

Freelancers, especially writers, agree that the competition can be very fierce especially with the abundance of available able professionals in the industry. But with the expert assistance of Carol Tice, dedicated freelancers can dominate their market niche and, in the process, make a living from writing.

And that’s exactly what Tice’s website, MakeaLivingWriting, wants to achieve for her readers and subscribers. Tice mentors her students about the methods in generating good income from online writing, thus, taking their writing careers to a higher level of success. Gone are the days when an online writing career means having to live from paycheck to paycheck because Tice shows her students their value as well as the ways in which to increase it for their own benefit.

In her MakeaLivingWriting website, Tice takes pride in her writing abilities from articles, blogs, and web content to white papers, case studies, and even books (i.e., ghostwriting). Her works have been published in many traditional and digital media including Alaska Airlines, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur StartUps, and Seattle Business. Her clients include big names in the industry, such as Costco, American Express, CBS, Lending Tree, and Dun & Bradstreet as well as BNET, Copyblogger, and Tree.com, among others.

Like many of her students, Tice is an expert author on a wide range of topics. These include small business and franchising, finances and taxation, retail and restaurant management, real estate, legal and insurance, and careers and higher education.

Tice is also the founder of Freelancer Writers Den, a community of freelance writers who share their ideas about making it in the competitive world of freelancing. It provides writing materials including webinars, bootcamps, e-courses, and live training events for its members, which are provided either for free or for a fee.

Indeed, Tice has freelancing in her blood and she wants to assist others who have it too. After all, sharing your passion is always the best way to go forward in your career.

Oftentimes, the fire in one’s belly to succeed comes from others’ put downs and such was the case with John Paul DeJoria. He lives and exemplifies the American Dream with his rags-to-riches story but it could have ended up otherwise had his high school math teacher not told him that he would never succeed in life. Such harsh criticism motivated him to change his life from being a street gang member to the billionaire businessman he is today.

Before becoming so, he spent two years in the United States Navy followed by a succession of jobs including janitor and insurance salesman. He then co-established the John Paul Mitchell Systems on a $700 loan; his partner was Paul Mitchell. Today, the company provides for a wide range of hair care products and styling tools, one of the best in the world and one that has made DeJoria a billionaire with interests in many other industries including alcoholic beverages and entertainment.

Even entrepreneurs need strategic coaching and few coaches can provide valuable strategic coaching services in a manner that rivals those of Dan Sullivan. Indeed, Sullivan is widely regarded as the go-to resource person for entrepreneurs to learn how to become better at their jobs and to grow their businesses by as much as ten times.

What makes Sullivan a strategic coach extraordinaire? He has a magnetic personality that makes everybody listen to him, whether during his Strategic Coach program sessions or during his keynote speeches. Unlike other business coaches, he also chooses to stay out of the limelight so that the focus remains on his satisfied clients – yet another sign of a man who knows his worth so flaunting it is unnecessary. He lets his work speak for itself and speak it does!

Sullivan’s clients from over 60 different industries from countries as far away as the Middle East, Asia, and Australia, all intent on attending his Strategic Coach workshops. His clients are often heard saying that his advice was the final piece of the puzzle that transformed themselves and their businesses.

Indeed, Sullivan’s ability to understand the unique situation of each client and then providing for strategic advice that results in breakthroughs is near-legendary. Such ability is difficult to find in a sea of business coaches whose workshops are anything but useful in nature.

Sullivan also has a unique definition of entrepreneurs. He defines entrepreneurs as people who have the freedom to work when they want, with whom they want, and how much they want based on the results of their work. His ideas may be shared by his clients-cum-entrepreneurs with their family and friends but these are intended for their use because Sullivan’s ideas are most powerful in the hands of entrepreneurs with fire in their bellies.

When you attend one of Sullivan’s Strategic Coach workshops, be ready for honest answers to open-ended questions and for your life to be transformed.

A leap of faith – that’s exactly what Chandra Greer did when she made the leap from being worker to entrepreneur. Greer, a well-educated woman with an MBA from the University of Chicago, worked as an expert in account management at Leo Burnett before making the leap.

And when she quit her job, she had no plans and no idea about her next move. She was just sure of one thing: Her creative energy must be focused elsewhere.

Despite her fears, she opened small store selling paper supplies in the northern suburbs of Chicago with her target customers being people who want to enjoy paper-based cards. She soon moved her store to downtown Chicago particularly in the Old Town to reach her customers better – and she has not looked back since.

Greer brings back the romance with paper that the digital revolution has virtually eliminated. Her customers buy greeting cards and stationery as well as elegant gifts while letterpress artisans and stationers, her suppliers, appreciate the revived interest in their art.