After Brian Wong graduated college at age 18, he co-founded a company that received more than $32 million in venture capital funding and landed clients like McDonald’s and Pepsi.
The now 26-year-old CEO and start-up co-founder of mobile advertising app Kiip used a series of career “cheats” to fast-track his success, which he describes in his book, “The Cheat Code.”
Here are a few of Wong’s more than 70 tips professionals can use in 2018 to advance their careers:
1. Use a notebook
Wong carries a notebook to jot down ideas and notes. In proposal meetings with companies like Amazon, Wong’s ability to succinctly pitch an idea helped him succeed.
Summarizing your thoughts helps you formulate a proposal before you go into a meeting or talk to your boss.
“When you [record your ideas], you can usually tell in one or two pages if an idea is smart or stupid,” Wong writes.
It also helps you remember directions your boss gives you, which Wong says can separate great employees from average ones.
“If you don’t write things down, you end up cluttering your mind, leaving less memory storage for more important things,” Wong says, “and less brain capacity for other process, including creativity.”
2. Focus on your career, not anyone else’s
People who don’t compare themselves to others and instead think about their own business goals are the happiest, Wong writes.
“These are the people who are almost literally shooting for the moon, and it’s almost impossible not to feel inspired by them,” he says.
Being goal-oriented and positive will help you win people over. As a strategy, it even trumps competitiveness.
“If you can be a better you every day, you can win the race,” he says.
“IF YOU CAN BE A BETTER YOU EVERY DAY, YOU CAN WIN THE RACE.”
3. Pay more attention to aesthetics
“Your brand is only as good as its presentation: How it looks, sounds and feels,” Wong writes.
By “brand,” the CEO means everything from how you dress to how you write an email.
“Visuals matter even in something as simple as an email,” Wong says. Avoid loud fonts and colors. And be sure to proofread your messages.
“The slicker the brand is, the more you trust it,” he writes, “and the better you remember it.”
4. Figure out what you’re good at
Everyone has a “superpower,” Wong writes, and great workers capitalize on that.
“No matter who you are or what you do in life, you have a superpower — and by that I mean something you do far better than most people,” Wong says. “If you’re not using it, you’re crazy.”
Brainstorm a list of what you’re good at, every task you find easy or fun. Wong also recommends considering asking friends or family members what they think.
5. Take a splurge day
You’re not a robot, so don’t treat yourself like one.
“The most successful people know that taking time to recharge is the only way to stay on your A game for an extended period of time,” Wong writes.
The CEO takes one day every month for a mini vacation, which he uses to visit his favorite park, museum or restaurant.
“Best of all, even an occasional splurge day gives you something to look forward to every day as you’re working long hours at the office,” he writes.