10 Pieces of Quality Advice for the Young Entrepreneur
1. Know what you want
Don't know? Hey, what do you know? I have just the thing to shamelessly plug here to help you do that! Don't worry it's free. It's actually something I wish that I could have had to help figure out what I want. If you know what you want. You are way ahead of the game. If not, read the book.
2. Be Rad...
Young people are energetic and creative. They bring a fresh perspective to the business market. Young people are turning the way business is being done, upside down. Be radical with your dreams. If you could do anything, what would it be? Ok, you should probably go for that.
3. ...But be wise.
Being a young entrepreneur doesn't exempt you from registering your business, keeping records and paying taxes. Following these simple rules now will save you from legal and administrative headaches later.
4. Manage your time
Running a business while going to school is stressful and difficult. Understand what is required of you in your separate roles as a student and a business owner, and employ planning and organizational tools to make the most of your time. Also, there's thing I invented. It's called a calendar (I didn't actually invent it.) But you should you find one that works for you and use the crap out of it.
5. Find a mentor
Ah, this one is hard. I believe everyone needs a mentor but not everyone is afforded one. If you can't find one initially, keep working and keep looking. A lot of times, the way to find a mentor is to serve someone else's dream that is very similar to yours. Serve it with all your heart, as if it was yours and learn all you can so you don't have to re-invent the wheel. I can almost guarantee the person whose dream you are serving will take notice.
6. Follow your heart
Listen to your heaaart, when it's calling for youuuu...
Ahem. But seriously, follow your heart, go with you gut, listen to your intuition, whatever you want to call it. We've got that reticular activating system (the thing in our brain that gives us that gut-feeling) that comes standard in all human beings. Don't tune it out. Use it to your advantage.
7. Bring your mental floss
Our brains get gunked up with false expectations, and comparison. Look for inspiration but don't let it clog up your own creative flow. Unhealthy expectations can set you up to fail. And you probably will fail at something. That's ok. Go ahead and fail then get up and dust yourself off and try again. But don't fail unnecessarily because your brain is getting in the way of your own self. Take time to clear the mental clutter and clarify goals and expectations.
Some of you reading this post might be trying to start a small business while you are still in school. Being a student is an advantage. Your campus probably offers free computers and Internet connectivity,and the expertise of professors who would be happy to share their knowledge with you. You're literally surrounded by people and resources, so make the most it. Also, scour the internet for free tutorials and strategies for tools that you are using or want to use like Why (& How) You Should Remove Blog Dates From Your Squarespace.
9. Paddle your own canoe
Being an entrepreneur is 87% hustle. I just made that statistic up but the point is: your dream, your canoe. No one is going to paddle it for you. Most successful entrepreneurs aren't particularly gifted or talented. They are just HARD WORKERS. They show up everyday get out on the water and start paddling. Like, hard.
10. Give Back
Getting to the top all by yourself can feel pretty rewarding. But being at the top all by yourself can be pretty lonely. Don't step on people on the way to the top. Turn around and lend a helping hand on your way up. People will remember that and that is worth more than any profit or bottom line your first small business has. And remember, everyone needs a mentor, but not everyone is afforded one.
Are you ready to apply some of this advice? Awesome.