Make It Happen

A fancy strategy means nothing without a realistic action plan for you to go and “make it happen”. Shipping is crucial, and its the hard part to any project. This is the guide to making it happen.

How do you 'get things done?' Share your tips and tricks

Its a phrase thrown around often that you should give your tasks to the busiest person you know. Why? Because they know how to get things done. I really recommend reading David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’. Its a great book about becoming more productive. Here’s a quick summary of some of the techniques that come from GTD on Lifehack.

Ship Regularly

Its difficult enough trying to make something happen in your spare time, but real business success comes from shipping again and again. Sending out that next order, writing your next blog post, collecting that invoice...

The really successful companies make headway by shipping regularly. That doesn’t necessarily mean shipping often. You’re still shipping regularly if you launch a new product daily or every year.

Make yourself a realistic schedule, and stick to it. Don’t plan out more than a couple of weeks in advance - plans change, and you’re guessing anyway. You’ve got to be prepared to ship regularly.

The Difference Between Important and Urgent Work

That homework due in tomorrow morning is urgent work. You need to do it by the deadline or you face punishment. Important work may not have pressing deadlines, but its the reason why you get up in the morning. Be sure to distinguish between the urgent work and the important work. Important work still needs to be done, yet urgent work may not be significant at at all. Don't make bad decisions.

Balancing Business with Schoolwork

This is one of the toughest things to organize as a teen entrepreneur, but let me say this straight off the bat...

Your education, is the primary mission. All other things come secondary. Period.

Its really difficult to say that, but I have two reasons:

  1. Your education, however exciting or mundane, is merely a benchmark. There are some skills there which you’ll need throughout life.
  2. The school always wins. If you don’t play the game, learn your facts and recall them all in tests, you get punished until you do. And the punishments you get in school are just depressing - bad news for your school, business and social life. Don’t fall behind.

The Real Secret of Success in School

I don’t think that grades are a reflection of intelligence. Teachers can teach anything to a class of students. The difference between the kids that get A’s and the kids that get D’s is one set works, the others don’t. I think everybody could get straight A’s - teachers, textbooks, outside help, YouTube videos... its not a question of “is there the material there”, but rather can you be arsed to do it?

So here’s the real secret... School isn’t about learning so much as learning how to learn, and its these skills which are great for teenage entrepreneurs. That’s why I really think that trying your hardest studying is so beneficial.

It sends of alarm bells also if you’re really quite successful at running your own business, but you’re screwing up your studies. You’ve chosen to lose.

But I’m not advocating you commit your life to studying textbooks and spending all your remaining time on your business. That’s not sustainable or fun at all... find something else to chillax with!

Workoholism is for losers.

I think the guys at 37signals are right when they say fire the workoholics. You don’t want to be in a position where you work all-day, all-night until you burnout. That’s just dumb. Instead, you should treat your time just as it is - scarce. Scarcity forces you to act, and get things done faster, better and more happily. Its why deadlines work.

Work smarter, not harder - watch Jason Fried sum it up...

The Two-Week Rule

If you can’t get something done over two weeks, the projects either too big (therefore impossible), or it needs to be broken down into something more manageable. Keep things in bitesize chunks. Its satisfying to be able to go through a to-do list of little things and keep ticking things off. The two-week rule encourages smaller tasks; learn how to set smart daily goals.

Defeat the Lizard Brain

Seth Godin talks about the lizard brain. That’s the primal part of our brain where your hungry, horny, scared and frightened thoughts all come from. Learn to control the lizard brain, and you’ll make ‘becoming successful’ and realizing your vision far easier. Watch the introduction to this video.


Determination is that magical personal attribute that means the difference between ultimately succeeding and ultimately failing. Sure, it's alright to have failed projects along the way, but determination - sticking with it is the defining characteristic of successful people, so says Paul Graham of Y Combinator.

"We learned quickly that the most important
predictor of success is determination."
- Paul Graham, Y Combinator

But Know When To Quit

"Winners never quit, and quitters never win." Bullshit. The person who's obsessed and focused on one thing will always beat the 'all-rounder'. Always.

To be truly successful, you need to know how and when to quit. Whether you should quit other stuff to focus on your business, or quit your business or bits of your business in order to truly succeed.

Teen Business Strategy Guide | Previous: Masters of Marketing

Return from Make it Happen to Your Teen Business

Go to the Next Chapter

  1. Your Vision
    Why dreaming big can have such a huge impact on your business, but how "getting real" is what will make your dream a reality.

  2. Personal Strengths
    How and why to build a business based on your personal strengths, why you should embrace your limitations and how to maximize your talents.

  3. Passion
    Passion is that unusual force that means you wake up in the morning; here, you'll learn why money doesn't equal passion, how to find your passion and what to do with it.

  4. Resources
    How to get all the people, the money, the kit and the training you need to make your business actually happen. Without this, you'll be forever frustrated.

  5. Business Mentors
    Having experienced experts guiding you through this whole "business" landscape is the single fastest-accelerator for your teen business. Discover the secrets to successful networking here.

  6. Masters of Marketing
    Marketing is the single most misunderstood part of everyday business. Here, get introduced to the Masters of Marketing who will really teach you how to win customers.

  7. Make It Happen!

    Its great having a strategy to this elaborate business of yours, but its another thing to actually make it happen. This is your guide to getting things done

teen business forum

Join the community of teenage entrepreneurs at Teen Business Forum - and be sure to check out the Teen Business Forum blog too.


The ideas in this guide were inspired by lots of different books and videos, but none more so than Rework. Written by the guys at 37signals

Here's a quick summary by Jason Fried of what's in the book

It was also heavily influenced by Cameron Herold's TEDxTalk on Raising Kids to Be Entrepreneurs