TalkTime: Master Networker of Macon
In 2016, Forbes called Deep Patel a “top 25 marketing influencer,” and Inc. named him one of the “top 11 youth marketers to follow this year.” Oh, yes, this Georgia native is still a teenager in high school. How did he come to write A Paperboy’s Fable: The 11 Principles of Success, his debut book? Learn about his remarkable journey and secrets to getting there.
What prompted you to become an entrepreneur
and get as deeply involved in business and marketing
as you have?
My father is an entrepreneur, and he has made his own way his whole life. I guess that rubbed off on me because I want to make my own way as well. I also just love to make something out of nothing and build it up to its highest potential.
Where do you attend high school?
Stratford Academy in Macon, Georgia.
Did you find that your age was an advantage, a
disadvantage, or did it not matter when you talked
I feel like it has been more of an advantage than anything else because I know I am inexperienced, and I am much more apt to learn from much more experienced individuals. I make sure that I handle everyone I deal with at a certain level of respect, and I think that my ability to be humble and learn has opened up many more opportunities for me.
What do you believe is your mission? You talk
about value-add quite often. What kind of value are
you adding to the world of business in general?
I believe my mission is to encourage, educate, and inspire other young entrepreneurs to pursue a path as intimidating yet rewarding as I have. I always strive to find the perfect blend of passion and income since I have such a love for business and I want to prevent myself from focusing solely on the money and look at more of the purpose. A business is not succeeding if it does not add value, and I believe my book has added value to many readers as a valuable deposit into their reservoir of knowledge.
How have your parents influenced the person
you have become?
Without a doubt, my parents have molded me into the man I am today. My father always taught me and exposed me to the world of business, and he instilled a strong work ethic in me that is an “always hustling” mentality. My mother has taught me to respect everyone.
Of all the advice you give, which one is the most
difficult for you to follow personally?
Delegating is probably the hardest because I want to be sure everything is perfect. Delegating is essential for good business practice because there is just no way that you can finish everything yourself without caving in. I struggle so much with this because I am very much a perfectionist.
You approached quite a few high-profile sources
for interviews, and they became the basis for your
book, A Paperboy's Fable. Tell us how you nabbed
these interviews and what was the one surprising
thing you learned at the end of it all.
LinkedIn is an extraordinary community full of professional and influential people, and so I thought it would be a great resource for my book. I set up my profile and started networking with people I believed could help me. They had larger connections and from there, I continued to build connections. There were many who didn’t have time to respond, but I kept trying anyway. I thought it was a numbers game. I expected to hear back from 1 out of every 25 people that I contacted. And when an influential figure like General Petraeus agreed to do the interview, it fueled even more motivation.
What do your friends think of your fame? Your
My friends always tease me for being a published author who still has to pass high school English. My two closest school friends actually got interested in what I was doing, and they ask me things they can do to get into the business world. My parents are still a little shocked that it has gotten this big, but they tell me all the time to not let it get to my head. However, since it has blown up, my parents have fun with being able to say they raised a “celebrity.”
Do you have siblings? How does that dynamic
work at home?
I have an older sister who attends college at the University of Georgia, and we have always gotten along well enough. I mean, there are always the sibling scuffles whenever she comes over, but she has always been supportive.
What do you want to explore next?
I’m still debating whether college is a good fit for me. In the meantime, I’m working on two other books and am getting to launch my latest venture: SocialNitro, a social media management tool.
Poornima Apte is a Boston-area freelance writer and editor. Learn more at WordCumulus.WordPress.com.
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