I started my first business when I was 18. I was a freshmen in college and I was juggling a full-time course load, a part-time job and building a business on the side. Shockingly, juggling this many things at once isn't the tip I advocate for or against. Here are three unconventional tips for young entrepreneurs.
Start as Early as Possible
As I previously mentioned, I started my first business when I was 18. If I could do it all over again and if the technology was available I would have started my first business in high school. I'm not sure I would have focused as much on building a business. However, I would have focused on building an audience. Once you build a following, building a business is so much easier because you already have a built-in audience to sell to. Nowadays, young entrepreneurs have it so much easier than I did when I was a teenager. When I was in high school social media didn't exist. Today, young entrepreneurs have the opportunity to take their passion and use social media tools to build an audience. The easiest way to do this is blogging or vlogging. What's so great about starting a business when you're young is that you don't have the financial pressure an older entrepreneur has. You can slowly but steadily build your business and actually have fun doing it. If I was a high school freshmen right now and I was into sports, technology, cars, or anything else I would immediately start a blog and/or a YouTube channel and begin building an audience by developing content about this subject matter. The other problem with building a business later on in life is that the older you get the more risk-averse you become. The pressure to pinch pennies to pay bills, take care of your significant other and feed your family take higher precedence over pursuing your dreams. This is a great segway into the next tip.
Despite the temptation, I highly encourage young entrepreneurs to remain single as long as you can. This doesn't mean cut out dating and restrict yourself from having a life. However, don't allow yourself to get committed to a relationship at a young age. This could work out for some, but for most it's a bad idea. When you get into a serious relationship, you unknowingly begin making life choices for two people as opposed to one. What happens when your significant other doesn't support your business or they think it's dumb or is a waste of time? Will you buckle under the pressure of your love for this person and throw your dreams away? Or what happens if you convince your significant other into believing in your dreams the way you do and they even begin helping build your business? What happens if the business succeeds and you all split up? They now have a legal right to file suit against you for a co-founder claim. Also, what if the business doesn't work out but your significant other helped fund your business with their cash and credit cards and now they're broke and their credit is ruined? For all of these reasons and more, I highly advise young entrepreneurs to avoid serious relationships.
Live with Less
When you're young, it can be easy to fall into the financial trappings of frivolous money spending. Don't fall for this trap. When I speak of frivolous money spending, I'm not just talking about tech gadgets, designer clothes and a recurrence of restaurant dining. I'm also talking about the more expensive big ticket expenditures such as a car and housing. These days so many young people are moving to the city to live out some made-for-tv fantasy. They think that living in the environment of other successful people will somehow automatically make them successful. This is a lie. This will only encourage you to spend more money to keep up with the Jones'. You're a young aspiring entrepreneur. You can't afford that. Your money and your focus should be on building your business to become successful, not living in the environment and playing the part.
Michael Price is an entrepreneur and author of What Next? The Millennial's Guide To Surviving and Thriving in the Real World. An advocate of ideas for radical change, he has received critical acclaim for his lessons in education, career, entrepreneurship, and personal finance.