Do you want to start a business, be financially independent and succeed as a teen? If YES, here are 13 easy steps on how to become a teenage entrepreneur.
There is a popular misconception that if you want to be an entrepreneur, it is best to wait till later in life to start pursuing that goal. This however is very far from the truth. As a matter of fact, many popular entrepreneurs today started their businesses when they were still in their teenage years.
While a lot of teenagers waste their time working entry level jobs at fast food restaurants in the United States, some of their counterparts have taken the initiative to become entrepreneurs and build legitimate businesses. A lot of these teenage entrepreneurs have been able to make thousands and some even millions before they entered adulthood, and this could be your case if are super ambitious and have a great idea up your sleeve.
3 Examples of Teenagers That Started a Business and Succeeded
Examples of teenage entrepreneurs include, Adam Hildreth who with the aid of 6 friends was able to launch the famous English social networking site, Dubit when he was just 14 years old in 2004. By 2005, Dubit was worth over 3.7 million dollars. Today, it is estimated that Adam Hildreth has a net worth in excess of 38 million dollars.
Bean Belnick at the age of 14 created bizchair.com a website dedicated to the retail of all types of furniture. With just an initial investment of 500 dollars, he started his business from his bedroom. In the year 2004, he was able to move to his first warehouse and by 2009 he had more than 702,000 square feet of warehouse space. In 2010 Bizchair had sales of more than 58 million dollars.
Cameron Johnson on the other hand was just 9 years of age when he started his business of selling invitation cards. By the time he was 11 years of age, he had saved enough money to start his business and form his own company. He delved into several other ventures like EZ mail, an email forwarding company, and other online advertising companies. By age 15 he was receiving monthly cheques of up to 400,000 dollars. Today he is worth over 3.2 million dollars. This goes to show that with contentious effort, age is not a barrier to entrepreneurship or success.
What Does It Take to Become an Entrepreneur as a Teen?
Before you take a step to become an entrepreneur, you should ask yourself “do I have the stomach for this?” Entrepreneurship is not all fun and laughter; it comes with its ups and downs and business failure is not uncommon in the United States. Just like having a child, starting a business is a full time venture. It takes a lot of commitment, time and effort, so therefore you need to have the stomach to handle this.
You also have to know if you are comfortable handling multiple responsibilities because if you are just starting up your business, there is a very big chance that you are your only employee. That is you may be the chief marketing officer, chief sales person, receptionist etc. and if you are not comfortable joggling multiple responsibilities, then you should learn how to do so for your business to succeed.
It is never too early to kick start your career as an entrepreneur in your teenage years, here are a few guidelines that will help you get started.
13 Easy Steps on How to Become a Teenage Entrepreneur
- Program your mind for success
At times, it is hard for us to believe that anything out there is possible because we have never seen it. Most of what is taught in school are stepping stones that will allow you to go to college and get a job. Unfortunately, very few schools have classes on entrepreneurship and most teenagers out there do not know a lot of business owners or successful entrepreneurs so they have nobody to follow on their path to success.
Therefore, the best thing to do is to program your mind for success. You will need to study about successful entrepreneurs and get to know what they did to get to where they are today, read books on personal development and listen to such podcasts to learn as much as possible.
There are a lot of people that young people can look up to. Research the stories of people who have made it and are making it, surround yourself with excellence and success from young people who are doing great things. You will find out that they not only give ideas and strategies to grow your business but also keep you motivated and wanting to keep going. Find at least one person in your industry that is doing really well so that you can look up to him/her. Create an environment of success and surround yourself with people you want to be like.
You will also need to read the right books because you will have to put the right things into your mind to be able to generate success. Even with the tight schedule that comes with entrepreneurship, you still have to make out time and read for you to upgrade your knowledge, personally develop yourself and get into the right mindset. Books about entrepreneurship will help to sharpen your business sense and intelligence and will also improve your investing skills.
Autobiographies and biographies of successful entrepreneurs and books written by them should not lack in the library of an entrepreneur. Books like Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, A Happy Pocket Full of Money by David Cameron, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki among others can help to develop your entrepreneurial skill. Learning is a never ending process and to be successful, you will need to have a hunger to learn new things all the time.
- Get a mentor
Starting up your own business as a young person can be quite intimidating. Your business may present you with tough decisions and questions that you may not have the experience that is required to proffer answers to. This is where a mentor comes in. A mentor is an experienced individual who you can lean on his experience, knowledge and resources to help you to develop your business.
Your mentor does not necessarily need to be in the niche of the business you do. Your mentor will advise you, help you to take difficult decisions, constructively criticize you, give you helpful contacts and connections etc. His personal success story will also help to motivate you in your endeavors. Not having a mentor in your business can result in wastage of time and resources.
3. Treat your life like a science experiment
If you are someone who is not sure of what to do yet with their lives or maybe you want to start your own business and follow your own dream, but you are not yet sure; what you can do is to try as many things as possible and treat your life like an experiment. So say yes to everything and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it again, but if you like it, you can go ahead and pursue it. Do as many things as possible as quickly as possible to figure out what it is that really interests you in life.
4. Don’t ask anyone for permission
As a teenage it is not uncommon to ask adults or parents for their advice, guidance or permission if you have a business idea. But the truth still remains that this is your dream and you do not need to ask anyone for permission in order to do it. Parents and adults are usually wise and do give good advice, but at times they can also offer you bad advice too.
Most times, your parents will want you to go down the path of least resistance. They do not want you to take a risk; rather they want a very safe life for you devoid of uncertainty. Unless your parents are business owners you should not follow any advice that is contrary to your dream.
Furthermore, you have to be prepared to encounter negative people. Negative people abound in the world and their pessimistic attitude will exhaust, discourage and prevent you from achieving your goals. Chances are that you know someone or will come in contact with someone who only sees what is wrong with your business.
They can be friends, a parent et al. Sometimes, they may have good intentions but they are hardly ever helpful. You will have to put on a figurative earmuff to keep their voices at bay and also try to surround yourself with positive people.
5. Avoid following the herd
As an entrepreneur, you should avoid doing what every other person is doing because they are not going to be entrepreneurs. Most people are going to go to college, get a job and work for somebody else. If you want to be the one percent, you cannot do what the 99 percent are doing. So if you are doing everything your friends are doing like lazing about, partying in the weekends, playing video games, this will make you end up like most people.
6. Seek venture capital
This may sound kind of scary especially if you are a young teenager because you may be worried that people will not take you seriously. However, there are a lot of people who have a lot of money and are looking for where to invest that money in. Venture capital is when people invest in what can be considered as a high risk investment.
It is an investment in someone’s idea or a business idea by giving them the capital that is required to put the idea or business in motion. There may or may not be one in your immediate area, but you can make use of the internet and social media to your advantage to find one.
Furthermore, you should also find an accelerator. Startup accelerators support new businesses with growth potentials. The support can be in form of mentorship, education and funding. Startups enter accelerators for a specific time period as part of a company. The aim is to accelerate the progress and development of the startup within a short period of time. Some well established companies have private startup accelerators that are targeted at specific niches such as agriculture, technology, healthcare, finance etc.
7. Be shrewd with your money: When you finally get the fund to run your business, spend it wisely. Don’t be frivolous with your spending; wasting it on things that don’t matter while neglecting the important things. Use your money wisely and it will go a long way for you.
8. Get the prerequisite experience if necessary
Business is all about providing and adding value. A challenge that a lot of young people face is that they don’t have the necessary prerequisite experience to provide the much needed value that a product or service ought to have. So how do you surmount this? Get experience. Whether you go to work for someone or volunteer at events, you will need to get more experience in other to provide value for your potential customers.
So whenever you want to add something that is missing in your business or whatever you feel that you need to get better at, go take a course, volunteer or get a part time job. In order to earn, you have to learn, get better at it and then earn. Get experience and then add your own tweak to the equation for a winning recipe.
Furthermore, learning from your own mistake is a good thing but learning from the mistakes of others is even better. Read about and talk to other entrepreneurs about the mistakes they have made and then try to prevent the same fate from befalling you
- Surround yourself with the right people
The people who surround you and whom you associate with will definitely shape your mentality and the way you act and feel. Seek out and be close to people who are living the life that you want to live and exemplify. These people will challenge you.
The may not tell you the things that you want to hear, but they will tell you things that you have to hear in order to take your life to another level. Surround yourself with people who ask questions, who dream big and people who are relentless workers. They will help to inspire and motivate you more in your endeavors. Stay away from the nay Sayers.
10. Be passionate about whatever you intend to do
Being passionate about your business is one of the ingredients that will help to foster the growth of your business. Doing what you love because you love it and not just for the money will help to take your business to greater heights. Also, when your business is going through a tough time (and it is to be expected), your passion will be the driving force that will propel it through such time.
If you don’t love your business, it will be stressful for you. Furthermore customers, colleagues, members of staff, investors, advisors etc. can sense when you don’t have passion for your business and it will definitely rub off badly on them.
11. Network with the right people: In order to start and grow your business, it is best to network with people who can help you bring your dreams to fruition. In that vein, it is advisable that you should become active in the industry you intend to start your business in. Don’t just have a mindset that people will look down on you because you are young, but just try to get into the industry and build a reputation for yourself.
12. Take risks and face your fears
Even though starting a business is a risky ordeal, you still have to take additional risks in order to succeed in your chosen enterprise. Being risk averse is definitely not a recipe for success. Take calculated risks when necessary to move your business to the next level.
It is however good to note that taking risks does not mean the same thing as taking a blind leap of faith. You have to do concrete research to back up your final decision. Also, as a young entrepreneur, you will have a couple of fears; yet shying away from them is never the best thing to do.
Face your fear and you will discover that they will become demystified and smaller. Common fears that young entrepreneurs face include not knowing where to start from, not being an expert, being considered crazy due to radical ideas, not finding startup funds, not attracting customers etc.
13. Set goal
Set goals that will serve as timely evaluations of how well you are doing in growing your business. This will help you decide if you are doing fine or if you need to change something for the better improvement of your business. The goal you set should be divided into short, medium and long term goals. Ensure that the goal you set are measured regularly, attainable, and realistic and time phased. If possible, endeavor to surpass the goals that you set for yourself and business.