By the time he was 20, Brian Wong was a self-made millionaire. The mobile advertising company he founded, Kiip, works with major companies including McDonald's and Coca-Cola and is on track to do $20 million this year.
Wong is remarkably savvy about how he strategizes in business, and he wrote about his tips to success in his book, "The Cheat Code."
Here are his top five ways to get ahead.
1. Always ask. You have nothing to lose
Wong calls asking for things, whether it be help, guidance or funding, "the magic wand for business and even in life." Because if you ask and get a "no," you're still exactly where you were before you asked the question.
"Honestly, I never feel defeated by a 'no,'" Wong tells CNBC. "My first reaction when someone says 'no': It's your loss. Like, you said no you're not going to do this, but someone else is going to do this. And they're going to make way more money than you."
In particular, Wong shares this advice with entrepreneurs looking to raise money and his sales team when they are pitching a product to a new customer.
The potential upside of asking is tremendous, says Wong. If they say "yes," then "your life just changed! It's amazing how much asking can bring to you. ... It's phenomenal."
2. Follow the "what if?" scenario all the way to the end
If you're worried about something, "ask yourself: 'What's the worst that could happen?'" says Wong. "It helps you remove mental barriers.
"Go through that whole thing. Finish the thinking process," says Wong. "And at the very end, the very worst thing is really not that bad, and then that will empower you to go nuts and be crazy."
"To be honest this 'cheat code' is super under-rated," says Wong. "But there's nothing more disarming."
If you are sitting down to a meeting with someone who is doubting you or is otherwise skeptical, set the tone by greeting them with enthusiasm and a smile.
"It's really hard to stay grumpy when everyone around you is smiling."
4. Stay curious and eager
When you are young, people are so eager to teach you what they know and you are so excited to learn. Keep that attitude no matter what age you are, says Wong.
"Constantly be curious," he advises.
5. Always be learning
The always-be-learning philosophy, says Wong, is not reserved for just business. He notes that a hallmark of creative people is that they apply lessons from one discipline to another area of their lives.
Learn how to dance or how to cook, he suggests. "Anything that constantly increases your mind and how it can think." He recently learned how to scuba dive, for example.
Take "experiences from different areas and ... connect them to come up with new concepts," says Wong.
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