Young and dynamic, Jeevan Sahadevan is not just an entrepreneur but also a business coach extraordinaire. In the following Q&A, he shares why he is no stranger to success.What was it like in the early years?
Jeevan Sahadevan: When I started as a Business Coach it was very challenging. Firstly this was 12 years ago and no one had heard or understood what on earth a business coach was all about. Action Coach literally started this industry. I remember telling someone at a party that I was a business coach and he asked “Oh do you have buses from Johor” and I had to explain that it wasn’t THAT sort of “business coach”! Hilarious!
I started with one staff…whom I called a PA cum miracle worker. Till today I see the benefits of having a very good and organised personal assistant who can tele market. That way I can get all my administrative matters handled whilst also a full appointment book. In the early stages of building a business, this is critical. Later with systems and processes and managers most things get handled by others. Having said that I still believe in running a lean and high profit company. I have less staff but get them being all they can be. My company now does 10 times what it did before but I only have four people working for me.
We hear you have three best friends?
I am extremely intense and passionate and very friendly and jovial. You can catch all of this when you listen to my radio shows on BFM which is on most Fridays at 11am. I also believe in finding the fastest, simplest and most effective ways of getting any result I want…I call this my three best friends!
You were only 26 when you started. Did this work against you?
It really is all in a person’s head. At first I thought no one would want me to work with them being so young but I signed on very big clients within the first three months because I marketed like crazy improving my approach with each rejection. Being young helps a lot here because you can take a hard hit and still get up and keep pushing.
Did you have anyone nudge you in the right direction, in the early years of your life?
Mum and Dad were massive role models for me. Both were entrepreneurs who worked very hard without excuses. I learned to do this just watching them. Dad had this simple rule to be rich….don’t wake up after 8am no matter what time you sleep and mum had a rule of no sleeping in the afternoons. So even when I went out partying till 4am, I had to be up by 8am and I could not have an afternoon nap! So I am an early riser who doesn’t take afternoon naps and this keeps me working hard all day and working hard in all the smart areas generates success very quickly.
Do you love being a leader?
Yes and I am a fantastic leader because I have an uncanny ability to get people to utilise every single asset they have and achieve goals as well as the fact that I get that leadership is made up of ONLY three elements: Entrust, Equip and Let Go.
What do you love doing besides working?
I am very fortunate that my mum got me into the reading habit at a very early age. I started with books by Enid Blyton and that made me love reading. I never realised back then that one day this love for reading would make me one of the best business coaches in the country and in the world. Since 2004 I have been reading between one and three books a week every week. I also love jet skiing and do it whenever I can. Also hiking and nature trails comes in as a close second. I have climbed eight mountains in Malaysia and plan to do Kinabalu in 2013. – Malaysia SME