We Asked New Zealand's Millennial Millionaire How to Get Rich
With a net worth of NZ$40 million, Jamie Beaton is the country's wealthiest 21-year-old.
Attending high school in Auckland, Beaton began to notice a hankering among overzealous private school parents to get their kids into Ivy League universities. Dropping science for economics, Jamie has since amassed a net worth of $40 million by making that happen for them.
Crimson Consulting is now a multi-national tutoring company that helps kids get into top tier universities. When I phoned, Jamie himself was in Boston graduating Harvard. I asked him to tell me some of the secrets to his success.
FIND A PROBLEM, SOLVE IT
When it comes to business creation, you have to solve a real problem. You need a niche problem that affects a niche market. After that it's less about the idea itself and mostly about learning and adapting it. If you're wedded to an idea that you think is amazing but that no one thinks is working, you need to be responsive to change. At the same time, recognise that not everyone is going to be happy with what you're doing. Zone out the backlash and ignore the bullshit, focus on your differentiated contribution to the world.
DON'T UNDERESTIMATE EDUCATION
People point to Zuckerberg or Gates, like "look how well they did dropping out of school." I find this absurd, because first of all they got into amazing institutions. This concept that you can be successful without formal education is a very dangerous one. Any training course is fundamental to success, whereas no training is risky. Read broadly and always up skill—as a leader and as a learner. Also, if you're starting a business or raising capital, you need finance and accounting skills. A basic understanding is enough to learn what's going on in the world. The world runs on numbers.
ALWAYS THINK THREE STEPS AHEAD
With the financial market, stocks trade well or poorly based on supply and demand and the world's assumption of their business value. How you make money in the stock market is by finding a differentiated view. You have to find a piece of the puzzle that no one else is seeing and focus on that. Take Blockbuster: they went bankrupt because of businesses like Netflix. There were a lot of amazingly smart investors buying Blockbuster stock, even when it was getting hammered, because they were constantly evaluating where the future was going.
Without the balance you go nuts. I grew up in a family where my dad was Chinese and mum was European, so I had the intensity of the East and balance of the West. It's easy to forget when you're being social that you're learning too, you're building up your communication skills.
LEARN FROM YOUR FAILURES
I was really interested in being head boy at school, but I didn't really know what leadership was. So I feel like I really dropped the ball in high school. I found I could drive a ship well if I was around people like me–very intense and focused. Where I was weak was helping people who needed motivation. I realise now that back in high school my personality wasn't really conducive to leadership and I had to adapt. For me, it's constant personal development.
WORK INSANELY HARD
Time is always ticking. I'm very competitive. I define myself by a constant need to challenge myself and not give up. Elon Musk [Paypal creator] said: "If my team works 80 hours a week and your team works 40 hours a week we'll get things done twice as fast." I think it's a combination of ignoring that noise and putting in the intense hours to make it happen. Be aggressive.
Screw TALL POPPY SYNDROME
At high school I was always shaking the status quo little bit too much. It was always "take things slower" or "calm down and do less subjects." I was making the observations about students that lead me to start Crimson at 14 or 15 years old. I think if I had more conviction in myself, I would've started Crimson many years ago and we would be much further ahead than we are now. I definitely succumbed to the pressure thinking that starting a company in school is ridiculous. I think the tall poppy thing can be so detrimental to so many people. Now I'm very aware of damaging rhetoric, but back then if I wasn't really confident about what I was seeing, I waited around for a long time. Don't do that. Don't waste your energy worrying about making ripples.
Interview by Beatrice Hazlehurst. Follow her on Twitter.