Hey guys! It’s been a while since I’ve done a book review post (and this is the first on on my site!) so I’m super excited to kick it off again. Shirley approached me with an opportunity to get featured in this book about starting a business as a teen, and I am so honoured to have been included alongside so many other inspiring individuals.
And guess what? This post will also include an exclusive article written by Shirley herself! She’ll go into details of writing a book as a teen in quarantine, and advice she has for fellow teens in terms of how you choose to use your time.
About The Book
Shirley Martin Wang introduces a no-bulls*it step-by-step guide for teenagers to dominate the business industry before they turn 18, from landing your first job to defying stereotypes about teenage entrepreneurs…
In this book, you’ll learn about:
– starting a business before age 18
– why social media influencers succeed
– working legally as a teenager
– business ADVICE from 7 teenage entrepreneurs — YouTubers, CEOs, and Content Creators included
– how to make yourself the #1 choice for a job
– a business world survival guide
– what is “youth professionalism”
Shirley Martin Wang On Writing Her Book, And Advice For Fellow Teens
I started quarantine like any other person – sleeping till noon, wearing pajamas 24/7, and having zero motivation to do anything at all. As an international student living in China, the coronavirus stopped schools in late February. At that time, I had crashed at my grandmother’s house in Taiwan for the Chinese New Year Break. I was there for more than a month and every day was another round of screaming from my mother for being unproductive and “not doing anything with my life.”
After being bombarded with her constant nagging and criticism, I decided to take up a little bit of writing to pass my time. Due to my passion in business, I outlined a how-to book for teenagers to dominate the business industry. Notice that I said “teenagers” – NOT adults. Adults have millions of business books written for them, and the topics of teenage entrepreneurship and working underaged has always been left in the dark.
I outlined eight chapters for my book in a bulletpoint format on my OneNote and created an Excel document of my writing schedule. Before I knew it, I was getting straight to work and writing my first ever book.
A lot of people asked about how I did it: “was it difficult,” “did you have writer’s block,” “how did you know so much about business.”
Honestly, I didn’t have any major problems. I pushed myself to write at least 1000 words a day, and the business advice flowed naturally. It was like a summary of every piece of knowledge in my brain about business and entrepreneurship – all in one. I constantly thought to myself during the process: “why hasn’t anyone written a business book for teenagers” and “why hasn’t anyone taught teenagers how to make money?”
I published with Kindle Direct Publishing, which is an Amazon/Kindle self publishing service. Originally, I was going to go the traditional route, but it just didn’t sound like something I wanted to do. I wanted to customize my own cover, format my own book, and learn things along the way. A traditional publishing path just wouldn’t give me the full package.
Kindle Direct Publishing was super easy to use. However, there were some instances where little irritating factors such as the bleed line of my cover or the tedious formatting in Kindle Create would get on my nerves. Either way, self publishing was such an experience – tiring but definitely worth it 100%.
My book’s purpose is to encourage teenagers to take charge of their life and stop wasting time. As soon as I started writing my book, I was extremely invested in finishing it and making it the best product – I felt satisfied at the end of the day when I knew I completed my tasks and was productive.
Although not all teenagers might want to start their own businesses, the coronavirus and being quarantined is THE opportunity for people to break out of their daily routines, step back, map out their goals for the future, and learn something new. My advice is to not slack off and don’t sleep till noon. You could be doing something really significant with the abundant resource of TIME.
So, I urge you to rethink the amount of time you’re spending on scrolling through TikTok. Focus on channeling your time into something you find PRODUCTIVE. Whether it is learning how to make a new dish, taking online courses on photography, or dancing to TMilly YouTube videos… make use of your time and do something that you like to do.
If you work hard on your passions, have a bit of luck, and get yourself mentally prepared to face rejections from society, i think every teenager could succeed in their own field. Your goal should never be about money – it should be about something bigger than yourself. The more people you positively impact, I believe that’s enough to consider yourself successful.
Shirley really has wisdom beyond her years. At 15 years old, she’s written a strong book that really digs in to some key areas you should know about as you begin your journey as an entrepreneur. She really understands the mindset and skills you need to develop in order to maximize your success in entrepreneurial ventures. I like how Shirley’s not afraid to criticize, and show you everything she knows in an actionable, no-nonsense way.
This book definitely covers a vast amount of topics. You’ll get insight into many helpful areas of business, from networking to sharpening your resume. She also has a chapter dedicated to interviews with teen entrepreneurs, and I really found quite a few nuggets of gold there too. It’s quite inspiring to read about the journeys of fellow teens!
In terms of critiques, I would say that there are a couple sections of the book are more surface level and don’t go too much in depth into the specific subheadings. Of course, as a teen, there’s only so much you can go into and know. This isn’t a textbook on teen entrepreneurship. Plus, she does cover a wide range of topics so it makes sense that she doesn’t go too much in detail for each smaller subject. But it would have been nice to get a little more, especially in subheadings for the “working legally” and “social media” chapters. The interview tips were good, though much of it seemed like “be confident” and “act natural”. More strategic tips like how to answer specific questions to present yourself better would have made this chapter stronger. That section seemed to advocate for too much “going with your gut” which might not be as helpful for readers who are new to it all.
I also think, while this book is targeted for teens, that it would be useful to have interviews or snippets from successful businesspeople who are older and have been running their businesses for longer. They do provide that other side to it it. I think it would be particularly useful for chapters such as the interviewing/hiring one. Since they are still predominantly the ones who are hiring the teens, this would reinforce more credibility.
If you have zero experience in the area of business/entrepreneurship, this book will definitely lead you through the key things you need to know to get started. And if you already have some experience, I think you’ll still find some good insight here to grow further. Overall, this book does fill a gap in the market, especially as more gen Zs follow this route. It’s a great starting point for teens who are looking to start their own business.