Finally met up with sabirul islam, the famous young entrepreneur that sold 42,000 copies of his book "The world at your feet" in 9 months, when he was 13 he got fired from working with his cousin only after 2 weeks.
Now to the interview , hope you enjoy it.
You got into business from such a young age, from my research its says you got into business at 13, but started your business at 14, what inspired you at such an early age?
Having been weighing up my options for GCSE at 13, I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work for my cousin, who at the time was 14 years of age. He ran his own business designing calendars for teachers in schools. Not the greatest of ideas but I was really inspired by his work. I had the role of a production director, designing the calendars. But I didn’t really live up to the expectations and 2 weeks later got fired!
I have to say it was the most difficult moment in my life, to not only have been fired but fired by my own cousin. It was hard to take in...However, he made £60 profit in one whole academic year and I was on a mission to prove my cousin wrong for firing me.
I wanted to run a business that made more money than he did which led me to setting up my first web design business at the age of 14, which was really successful having ran it for 2 years. Until I realised at 16 that web design was too common so I left the business.
How did you come about writing your book “the world at your feet”?
Having become an entrepreneur at the age of 14 and an investor at 16, it was somewhat outside the norm of what the community expected. Therefore, I had a lot of young people asking me constant questions on how they could do the same, which led me to writing The World at Your Feet book.
For every person I answered the question on how to become an entrepreneur, I believed that it straight away went through one ear and came out of the next. Therefore, I had to give something back in written evidence, which I believe they can always refer back to and seek as inspiration.
The book has a vision to inspire young people about the successes that lie ahead when opportunity is created and most importantly when young people strongly believe in who they are as a person and their abilities to make the most of their talents.
Reading your story, it says you sold over 42,000 copies of your book? That’s right, right? Or how many copies have you sold so far?
Yes, I did sell 42,500 copies of the book and in a space of 9 months.
Can I just “ how the hell were you able to sell 42,000 copies in the space of 9 months”, I’m sure everyone is curious about your tactics, strategies, how the hell did you pull that off, can you share some of your tactics with us, especially with people that are looking to publish their books?
I believe it is all about empowering people to believe in themselves and others that we are all extraordinary. Having written the book, I straight away became a motivational speaker, and spoke at 379 events within the 9 months (333 secondary schools) which led me to selling the 42,500 copies.
I felt that selling directly to young people will not be possible, therefore targeted the education market which I thought was fantastic.
But it’s not about being a sales person standing on stage and looking to sell. No! It’s about the power of inspiration and influence, enabling people to grow in self belief and being passionate about the topic in which you are talking about. Getting more people on board with your vision or topic enables greater opportunity for them to be a part of your network, purchase your products and see you as a role model and an inspiration.
Take us back to when you went to New York with Merrill lynch, how was the experience, how did it come about?
This was totally unexpected and to be honest, I wasn’t really keen to go to the States. But I was convinced
by my parents that it would be a fantastic experience.
Before the summer holiday period, I received a phone call illustrating the opportunity that lies ahead in learning about business and investment in New York. Having been convinced to go, I learnt how to trade in the stock market at the age of 16, working with professional traders in the New York stock market and entrepreneurs from Wall St.
I came back to the UK and put what I learnt to action...becoming a stock trader at the age of just 16. But I felt I was bit too young for this sort of commitment therefore only really bought stock for about 9 months. But it was a fantastic experience!
So you will be speaking at TEDx Youth Event in Amsterdam this November, how did you go about getting involved in that?
Once you develop a strong personal brand with a vision to inspire, and encourage the growth of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial learning...Opportunity will come to you rather than you having to seek for it. As an entrepreneur, unexpected things happen, which is exactly what happened here. I received an email from the organisers of the TEDx Youth Event from Amsterdam and was invited to speak at the event.
That is the great thing about being an entrepreneur; opportunities can arise any moment in time. So always expect the unexpected!
You’re no longer the teen entrepreneur, how has the journey been so far?
I believe that everyone is still a teen until they reach 30! I’m currently aged twen-teen (20) which I’m sure still makes me a teen
But it’s been an unbelievable experience. I always look back to the moment I got fired at the age of 13 and think, what if I hadn’t been fired...Would I have been working at McDonalds at this point in time. I just don’t know!
But having become an entrepreneur, motivational speaker and an author, it’s been a fantastic journey. Having turned 18, I launched my own business board game which is titled as ‘Teen-Trepreneur’ hence that is where the name comes from.
The game has been used as part of the business BTEC academic learning which is quite extraordinary as I wasn’t really expecting it to achieve this accolade. Having turned 19, I started speaking in countries around the world such as Nigeria, South Africa, USA and now 20; I’ve launched the new business start kit for young people to encourage future growth and learning of entrepreneurship and will be on a world tour!
So, I say it’s been quite a fascinating few years but hey it’s still early days!
What inspires you and keeps you motivated as an entrepreneur on a day-day basis?
Every day is a new challenge and as an entrepreneur it is fascinating to tackle new challenges and obstacles on a day to day basis.
With my passion to inspire many young people around the world, I believe that every person out there is taking in the words of inspiration and trying to make something happen. I’ve had many people come back to me and state that I’ve changed their life...That is the biggest and most inspirational thing a person can hear.
And the fact that as an entrepreneur new ideas are always looming! So I believe both these two factor keep me going!
What are your hobbies? What do you get up to when you’re not talking business or giving inspirational/motivational speeches?
Over the past year or so, I’ve somewhat been attached to the Playstation which is quite a change for me, as I wasn’t attached to games before. But these modern high tech gizmos are quite rewarding and relaxing!
I also like travelling and taking breaks...so I do go out with friends and family and enjoy myself!
One thing which my mother’s not happy about is the fact that I bought a 6ft snooker table a few months back, which is now sitting in the living room! Have been playing that when I haven’t been working. Good fun!
What would you like to see more of happening as a young entrepreneur?
I just love doing business abroad...I would have to say that I would be delighted if more opportunities to speak or trade in countries that could really do with the products and services I supply.
But it’s all about taking one step at a time...That is where I believe the thrill of the journey comes from!
For the people that haven’t read your book yet, what can they be sure to learn from it?
The World at Your Feet follows a vision to inspire, educate and provide opportunities to jump on to the entrepreneurial platform. It provides a direction and choice of learning about the successes behind entrepreneurship and setting up a business.
The new launch of the Teen-Trepreneur Trilogy books supports life choices, for those who don’t know what they’ll do for their future.
The books help gain interest in the topic of entrepreneurship, help develop your personal brand and teach the core steps to setting up a real business.
There are many people out there full of scepticism and doubt about who they are and their talents. The World at Your Feet book aims to inject belief and hope that ordinary individuals who do something unique make them extraordinary.
And no, it’s not a 40 year olds views on successes in life...Its views from a teenager who was aged 17 (myself ), that had unlocked the beauty of success. So the gap between, those who need help to the person who wrote the book aged 17, is minimal. So there is hope that we can all achieve success.
You been to a lot of countries, giving inspirational talks, what has been your best experience so far?
Without a doubt my time in South Africa was amazing. I spoke at a conference which had listeners of over 2 million people on radio from over 170 countries.
Had great responses from people in South Africa and the people I stayed with will truly live long in my memories.
I even had my books and games sold in South Africa and now have constant orders from country...Great for business. One great thing that happened was when I spoke at a school in South Africa, one of the student bought my book from a local store and wanted my autograph.
She then searched online, asked people around and found out where I was staying...She came over with her dad just to have the book signed having searched for 2 days. Which I thought was awesome and really inspirational.
It will take something really special to beat the experience I had in South Africa.
What has been your most memorable moment so far?
It has to be when I was awarded the Mosaic Entrepreneur of the Year award by HRH Prince of Wales and HRH Princess of Jordan in 2008.
There have been a lot of extraordinary moments during my time but this has to top it, as I was nominated by Merrill Lynch, and was the youngest person nominated for the award, up against top business owners in their 30s and 40s. Which I thought was fantastic!
What has been some of the key lessons you’ve learnt so far on your journey as an entrepreneur?
It is very important to follow the 3 P’s as an entrepreneur...You have to remain Positive at all times. It’s important to always see negative influence as a means to doing positive things and to prove others wrong. I learnt about the importance in being Passionate about what you do, because without passion there is no hope. And finally, what I’ve learnt is that illustrating Perseverance is key. Hard work and determination, even through tough times is how true entrepreneurs succeed.
So what’s next for you?
I’ll be starting my World Tour in October, speaking in 20 countries in 12 months. In November, I’ll be launching the new Teen-Trepreneur Speakers Bureau and from next year the Teen-Trepreneur Board Game will be selling globally.
So there is still a bit to do, but I’ve always said to myself...Duncan Bannatyne became an entrepreneur aged 30 and is now a multi-millionaire. I started at 14 and am now aged 20. Well, I speak for many young entrepreneurs when I say that we are already more success than he is!
What tips have you got for young entrepreneurs especially those looking to publish their books?
It’s easy and simple...All it takes is for you to write a story, design it yourself or find a designer and publish on Lulu.com...It’s simple, its free and it will make you more successful than those who take their manuscripts off to a mainstream publishers and get rejected! Give it a try. It won’t cost you to publish a book!
Thanks for your time sabirul, hope to catch up with you soon.
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