Last February, Shaan Patel, founder of PrepExpert and Shark Tank star, reached out to me to chat about his work and experience as a young entrepreneur. Over the course of the year, Shaan and I quickly became friends, personally and professionally. As we stayed in touch over the past eleven months, I’ve had the pleasure and honor to get to know him as a person.
His tremendous work, invaluable insight, self-motivation and grand vision of giving back still leaves me in awe. As a young person who has achieved immeasurable goals in such a short time, it is Shaan’s humility and down-to-earth attitude that makes me proud to know him. I had the change to catch up with him as he embarks on his last year of medical school.
Shaan and I spoke about the importance of mindset, how to maintain a healthy life-balance, entrepreneurship, and what you need to know about Shark Tank.
Shaan, tell me about the importance of mindset as a young entrepreneur.
As a young entrepreneur, a motivated mindset is key. All successful entrepreneurs are motivated. You have to know why you want to start a business. Making money is certainly one goal of starting a business. But it shouldn’t be the only goal. You have to be motivated by a bigger goal. An entrepreneur who is only motivated to make money will likely fail. Instead, figure out what motivates you to build your business. Once you figure out your goals, work hard to achieve those goals. Stay motivated to succeed in starting your business.
Given the significant demands in your life, what are three of your most valuable tips for work, school, and life-balance?
1. Do The Toughest Task First
You only have so much energy to spend in one day. And your ability to focus will go down as the day goes on. So you should complete the task that requires the most thinking first. If you complete your toughest task early in the day, you will not feel as tired later on in the day when you have less tough tasks to complete.
2. Turn Off The Tech
In order to really get work done, you should disconnect from technology that may distract you from building your business. In the world of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat, distractions are all around us. Because information is so readily available to us at all times of the day, it is hard for many of us to focus without interruption. This is why I recommend turning off the tech when you want to get some serious work done.
3. Set Daily Goals
Starting a business is a big task, especially for a first-time entrepreneur. Where do you start? The answer is to start anywhere. Just start with a small task you think you can finish. Then, do another task. Then another, and another. Eventually, you’ll realize that starting a business was not as hard as it first appeared!
A large task becomes much easier if you chip away at it. If you do not have a daily task that helps you get one step closer to starting your business, your progress will become slow because of the all-too-common excuse of “I got busy.”
What is the best piece of advice you can give to young millennials who want to find success as entrepreneurs?
You should not quit school in order to start a business. School will help you become a great entrepreneur. For example, school teaches you how to write. This is a very important skill to have as an entrepreneur since you will likely write marketing material, website content, and proposals as a future business owner.
Being a student entrepreneur is tough. Many entrepreneurs are not in school so that they can focus all of their time on their business. But you must focus on both school and your business. So that means you have to learn to manage your time extra efficiently. You will also have to make some sacrifices. Put in hard work now in order to earn great rewards that you can enjoy later.
Please share your favorite Shark Tank tip for those who would like to get on the show and finalize a deal.
Remember that Shark Tank is a television show for entertainment. You could have the best business in the world, but if you are boring on camera, you will not make it on the show. When you audition for Shark Tank, try to be funny, excited, and full of energy. Shark Tank producers will love you if you are not only a successful entrepreneur, but also an entertaining one.
Now you know about the importance of entertainment, humor and energy for Shark Tank. Prepare to make the Sharks laugh.
Shaan Patel is a #1 bestselling author, the founder of Prep Expert SAT & ACT Preparation, an MD/MBA student at Yale and USC, and winner of a Shark Tank deal with billionaire Mark Cuban. He raised his own SAT score from average to perfect and teaches students his methods in online and in-person classes in 20 cities. He is currently in his last year of medical school at the University of Southern California.