4th February 2014

3 tips from ‘The School Boy’ trader

Article by Michael Jacobsen, author of The Business of Creativity went from trading on the stock market in his school lunch break, to multi-million pound business success.

It’s a rare sixteen-year-old that goes to school  early for extra tuition voluntarily, but then Michael Jacobsen, serial entrepreneur and the man responsible for the £750 million grossing Dirty Dancing West End stage show, has never been your average.
While his class mates were kicking footballs and playing computer games at his high-school in his native Australia, Michael was engrossed in daily intensive one-to-one lessons before school, with a business studies teacher who recognised a tenacity and hunger for learning in his young student… and so taught him how to trade on the Australian stock market.

The teen entrepreneur borrowed $20,000 from his uncle, invested in National Australia Bank shares and made a profit of $20,000 in the first six months. Today at just 35, Michael is one of the UK’s most dynamic and successful entrepreneurs. A resident in the UK since 2009, the young entrepreneur is one of a host of business moguls who have been there, done it, and are pioneering an environment of entrepreneurialism in the UK, just by their very energy.
Having started and sold several companies during a career which has seen him exit a $100M property company, Michael’s entrepreneurial activities have spanned entertainment IP ownership and production, property and angel investment, along with the ownership of companies in the food and beverage and business education sectors.

Despite his impressive financial success, Michael cites his philosophy of leading with a qualitative motivation and allowing the quantitative to follow, as the secret to his success; “The pure pursuit of money often leads to failure, as if you chase money you never quite catch it. Vision, passion and the right psychology breed financial success,” says the business mogul.
With mind-set and attitude so intrinsic to whether a business stays the course, Michael shares his three tips for success:

1.       Develop some courage
You need to have belief in your own vision. If you don’t have a vision, you don’t have anything to believe in. So many times I talk to people I mentor and they lack courage.
We also all know people who are ‘going to’ start a business one day selling flowers, marketing their crafts or putting their videography skills into commercial practice at weddings and functions – but never do! They’re talkers, but it’s because they lack courage. They also lack clarity.
Did Simon Cowell lack the courage to rebuild a business when he was broke 15 years ago, and had to move back in with his parents? No, he had the courage to start again and build the empire he presides over today.
I happen to believe that to never start is more of a failure than staring and falling short. So write your vision – your foundation – own it and espouse it everywhere you go! This vision brings you clarity, and manifests your dream to life day by day, giving you courage that this is not just a dream but also a real business concept and a potential commercial reality.

2.       Assess the need
I always read questions from people asking what is the magic formula for knowing if their product or creative business concept will be a success.
I happen to believe that can be addressed by asking ‘What is the need?’ and having the desire and the heart to serve that need. Now, if there is no immediately visible need for your product, that doesn’t necessarily matter either.
Who knew we needed iPhones, iPads and Androids 10 years ago? – no one – except for Steve Jobs – who as we know, saw the need and made us all realise we had the need. He educated us through clever marketing, which tapped into our basic desires.
Do you know what need you are serving? Do you want to serve a need? If you answer yes to both, you have a solid business foundation.

3.       Coach, mentor or friend
Who has ever heard of a successful athlete winning a race without a coach or training?
Do you have anyone you can go to for clear objective counsel and whom you can train your business skills and personal mindset with?
Businesses are spoilt for choice in the UK, as there are so many places to turn. Whatever your budget, even if it’s nonexistent, there’s help out there in the form of mentors, coaches and even objective family and friends.
Most successful creative sector entrepreneurs have someone to engage with, bounce ideas across and obtain an objective opinion from. It’s what all successful people in the world do, across all fields. To obtain advice and fill the gaps in your own knowledge strengthens your mindset and business skill base, training you for success.


The Business of Creativity, by Michael Jacobsen is available from Amazon.


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