Entrepreneurship is tempting; you can create your own hours, work on projects that matter to you—why even work for another company? Well, it is not all roses in the first few years of entrepreneurship. We cannot all be Mark Zuckerberg‘s after all.
Part of entrepreneurship is knowing every aspect of your idea and your industry. Gisela M. Pedroza, in her article How Can You Become a Young Millionaire?, spoke with Jennifer Kushell, an entrepreneur since the ripe age of thirteen. Her book, Secrets of the Young and Successful, includes exercises for the reader to work on as they read. She chose to include this to make would-be entrepreneurs “really start questioning how much more they can accomplish if they think strategically about it.”
Greg Levoy, in The Business of Writing, talks about his transition from newspaper writer to freelance writer. Every Thursday, from 6 PM to 10 PM at night, he would research the different aspects of writing: how many writers there were, what topics proved most successful, etc. He did this for two years—and for him, it paid off big time. Do your research before jumping in with both feet.
Another facet of making it as an entrepreneur is your attitude. Kushell identifies key attributes of young successfuls, like “high levels of optimism and confidence” along with “possessing vision and passion in their dreams and convictions.” That seems like the most important part of any job, especially one you create for yourself. Your love and determination for it will keep the idea breathing—even if others say you cannot do it.
Their negativity proves to be one of the potent causes of young entrepreneurs failing. To avoid that “it’s critical that you have people who support you in all different ways: people who are going to watch out for you…if you’re not surrounded by people who motivate you, you’re just not gonna go as far as you could.”
Instead, surround yourself with fellow entrepreneurs: ask them for feedback about your ideas. This, says Cynthia Schmae, in 25 Tips by Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs, stops isolation and “allows you to vent your anger and share your successes.”
There are other obstacles facing start-up businesses:
One potential roadblock Kushell foresees for young entrepreneurs: age. “The younger you are, the more people question what you know and what you’re capable of and if you go in knowing that, you can start to join organizations, you can volunteer, and you can maybe sit on boards.”
In addition, money is a big determinant of the success of your company. Schmae writes, “Don’t work for less than you can afford to, but do offer discounts to customers or clients who sign contracts with you.”
Meanwhile, before you start your business venture, Schmae suggests, “you are covered financially until at least the end of the second year.” This means you will need to save money before you transition from your current job; take it one week at a time.
Entrepreneurship gives people an opportunity to apply themselves with passion to their ideas and their work. However, it is not for the fainthearted. Walk slowly, do your homework, and never let anyone tell you that it cannot be done.
Photo by David Castillo Dominici