For young entrepreneurs, starting a company with limited resources and knowledge is an extremely intimidating and risky endeavor. Jumping head first into a startup may appear very promising and rewarding, but these triumphs do not come without great risk and require tremendous perseverance.
Having navigated five startups, starting at age 14 to when I was 21, I can tell you that there is nothing more personally rewarding than selling a company. I often look back and analyze the mistakes I made and the collective knowledge that I have attained from these startup ventures.
As a result of these experiences, I am now cognizant of critical factors required to launch and scale startups, many I wish that I had known from the very start of my career. My eight critical tips for every young entrepreneur to launch and grow a successful business are as followed:
1. Take a risk
The first and most significant obstacle in every young entrepreneur’s career is learning how to accept and take a risk. Risk taking is one of the most important steps required when launching a startup business. Whether the risk is financial or in regards to your career choices, there is no better time to take a risk than when you are in your early 20s.
Take a risk, do something crazy, start a business. If it fails, then you learned a lot and move on. You are only young once, but you live with regrets forever. Don’t live forever with those “what if” thoughts.
2. Continuously innovate
To launch a successful startup, you must be innovative and continuously innovate. Don’t be afraid to be crazy and come up with a wacky idea or business plan. Be bold, be creative and commit.
View your business idea from a different perspective and do not listen to the naysayers and critics. Some of today’s most popular products and services once came from people with innovative and wacky ideas that initially had their fair share of critics.
3. Utilize your network of connections
Many young entrepreneurs do not leverage their network of personal connections. Every young person has hundreds of connections: family, friends and contacts from school and social media. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people that may be able to help you. Make “the ask” and get introduced. You have a spider web of connections – don’t let it blow away.
4. Have high expectations and aspirations
If you really want to attain a high level of personal satisfaction and/or financial rewards, then you need to hold yourself to a high level of expectations, standards and aspirations from the start of your entrepreneurial career. Look into the future and envision yourself as a multi-millionaire or captain of industry. This will drive you harder to attain your ultimate goal.
This task may be psychological, but it will greatly instill drive and determination on a daily basis.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Asking for help is the easiest task, but proves to be the most difficult for many young entrepreneurs. There are many people around you that can help you, or that know of someone that can help you. Swallow your pride, be bold, take a risk, reach out and ask for help. Introductions can be a game changer for your business.
6. Be a hustler
The word “hustler” has a negative connotation, but it is an extremely important trait in the startup world. Being a true hustler means being a persistent self-starter who kicks butts and takes names. If you are not a true hustler, then you simply won’t make it in the startup world. Don’t stop until you make it big.
7. Learn from your mistakes
In the startup world, you will fail a lot. Buckle up and get used to it. These failures will teach you about yourself and your flaws, but you will learn to better yourself and your strategies.
Take mistakes and failures personally. It will drive you more than you know. Failure is a great thing that drives success. Learn to embrace failure – do not deteriorate in its presence.
8. Live, breathe and sleep your startup
Make your company your life! There is no such thing as work-life balance in the startup world. If you are serious about your business, then you have to put in 100 percent effort. Ultimately, you will get out what you put in. If you want to reap the benefits, then you have to put in the work. Launching a startup is no walk in the park. It’s difficult, frustrating, and can make you want to pull your hair out.
There are a significant amount of hurdles with which young and first-time entrepreneurs will have to face. There will be really tough, low moments as well as euphoric, celebratory times. By following these eight tips, every young entrepreneur will be more mentally prepared to launch a successful startup business and entrepreneurial career.