“What can I do to motivate and inspire young students or people looking to start a new venture to go for it?” I wondered while I walked past all my fellow college students who were sitting in the lounge to take bigger risks. It bothered me that there was so much talent right in front of me, yet no one was taking action to really do great things. The frustration of all these students with enormous potential sitting in front of me and nothing to push them forward and create something special. Often, I think that any of these people have the ability to group together and solve society’s pressing issues. So why don’t they?
Furthermore, I was frustrated by the lack of action being taken for students to build something for themselves. A study in 2016 found that almost 80% of people don’t end up following through on their career dreams. Instead, they pursue other career paths. Often I think, “They have all the skills and are so talented that they could do anything they want to so why do they settle?” There is an article I read on Inc. titled “15 Sad Reasons People Give Up On Their Dreams” which lists the top 15 reasons why people give up on their dreams early on in their life. Three reasons listed were fear of being judged for failure, only seeing the failure not the lesson, and not believing in oneself.
I’m extremely passionate about young people and about entrepreneurship and I have a deep desire to help others achieve their goals out of school or wherever they are in their budding careers. I see myself as a relentless problem-solver, and I’m always looking to help students make their dreams come true. Many friends have come to me for advice about their websites or tech ideas, such as a good friend who approached me with a great idea for his website and needed ethical guidance and fleshing out of his offerings.
Often I literally “freelance” my time and expertise for free to help friends succeed with their ambitious goals. I wanted to use my background in many different fields, like doing tech consulting, interning in an intellectual property law firm, and being a part of the EMS system, to gather stories from successful entrepreneurs under 25 (which I am at the time of writing this), to shine a positive light on entrepreneurship that anyone can use to create their dreams.
So, I set out to interview young entrepreneurs to learn about their mindsets and to gain better insights into young entrepreneurs and how anyone can be successful, at this age group in particular since I am so passionate about young people smashing goals. I see so much talent and potential in the young age group. There is bounds of potential and sometimes we just need a push. You have what it takes so give it a shot! It constantly blows my mind to learn how many opportunities there are. Belief in one self often can carry you to places you wouldn’t ever imagine, and being young means you get to enjoy more of it since time is more on your side.
You will be amazed to hear the personal stories of trial and triumph that these successful entrepreneurs overcame to carve out their place in their respected industries. Amazingly, all are under the age of 25! Many have been featured in Forbes 30 Under 30, some have been recognized for their incredible research, and some are a few of the most celebrated young people today.
It was inspiring to learn about how these burgeoning entrepreneurs are making a difference in communities and in other parts of the world. The impact has been felt in all industries including fashion, technology, and research. Clearly, the impact that one person can have on so many people at such a young age is truly astonishing.
Young business-savvy individuals you will hear about in this book range from start-up CEOs to founders of non-profit organizations, to humanitarian activists, YouTube and social media influencers, young chefs, and the most incredible young people who are anonymously making a difference in all of our everyday lives.
I hope that these stories will inspire other young entrepreneurs, high school students, college students, and young adults to follow their dreams and not give up. This book will hopefully serve as a motivator and guide to propel future entrepreneurs and catapult them to success. I want this book to solve more problems; more people looking for cures. Younger people, fresh ideas and fresh insight will help solve the world’s problems. I’m convinced of it. We have the power to get companies to take climate change seriously. More people can get involved in these issues and make a difference. And yes, a 20 year-old can start a fashion company. What’s more, they can make it sustainable and eco-friendly. More people thinking about curing viruses. I hope this book will spur the conversation and increase the amount of people thinking about these ideas, because that will lead to change.
For one, Generation Z shows very strong entrepreneur characteristics. 61% of Gen Zs would rather start their own business than work for someone else.” This generation is the perfect generation to start young for a couple of reasons:
- The Information Age has liberalized the education system so that anyone can learn almost anything for free through online resources like Khan Academy and world class courses on YouTube. https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2019/05/29/free-online-education/#5f8357e1342b
- It is cheaper and easier to start a company today thanks to online networking and support from like-minded venture capitalists. https://www.ryrob.com/best-businesses-start-while-working-full-time-job/
- College has increased its price by 25% over the past ten years for an undergraduate education that is now partially open-source information. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/13/cost-of-college-increased-by-more-than-25percent-in-the-last-10-years.html
- The return on college investment is not the same as it used to be because job pay has not kept up with rising tuition costs. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/personal-finance/whats-the-return-on-a-college-education/
- Generation Z has better abilities to network among one another to find people to build a company with; for example by using platforms like LinkedIn, Social Media, and other networking platforms https://www.careerbuilder.com/advice/what-does-networking-really-look-like-today
Even with all of the advantages that Generation Z has, there is one thing that does prevent people from starting young: inexperience. There is an old adage and belief that people need to wait in order to gain experience to do big things like start their own company.
This assumption couldn’t be further from the truth and my book is here to prove that it to you.
Many entrepreneurs who are successful today actually started when they were younger before they obtained their experience. Rather than learning through reading, they learned through the practice and application of their skill sets. Legendary entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines, Steve Case of AOL, Michael Dell of Dell Computers and even Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX started with what we seem to perceive as inexperience; like when Steve Jobs at 20 years old with Steve Wozniak built the first Macintosh Computer out of his garage.
The reality is that these entrepreneurs, as most do, started way earlier than the public eye notices. They start early and compound their experience into valuable knowledge which is then translated into the development of their companies.
For example, when Michael Dell was but a freshman pre-med student at the University of Texas, he started a side hustle to generate income by putting together and selling upgrade kits for personal computers out of his dorm room. By 27, Michael Dell was recognized as the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Today, Dell computers take up 20% of the market share and Michael Dell is the 27th richest person in the world worth $27.2 billion.
Many influential leaders, including the world’s biggest pioneers, started extremely young. For example, Mark Zuckerberg started at 19 and Bill Gates started at 20, compounding their skills through application and learning through practice. But Mark Zuckerberg actually started programming when he was 11. In an interview with Matthias Dopfner Mark said, “It only took me two weeks to build the first version of Facebook because I had so much stuff before then.” This experience compounds and pays off immensely very shortly. Even Jeff Bezos once said that “all overnight success takes about 10 years”, and that was after he was programming from when he was but a very young boy.
I believe that the main principle of a “start-up creator” is “Start Now, Start Early, and Do It”. The common characteristics of young entrepreneurs should be not to go after a big company or action, but rather to start small early on and compound that value exponentially. In time, the value will surpass anything you might have thought to achieve later on. But even more than that, you will have results and a company to show for your hard work rather than just knowledge. I’m not knocking on knowledge, either. I’m only saying that tangible outcomes like cash flow and market share are preferable to young entrepreneurs.
After interviewing successful people from this exact demographic, I’ve found that as a young entrepreneur, it is most important to have the following attitudes:
- Start small and take baby steps.
- Develop a bias toward action and be purpose-driven.
- Have a goal or dream to leap for.
- Become a daredevil: someone who isn’t afraid to fail and can ride those bumps early on.
- Develop your passion; and finally,
- Become SO obsessed about your project that you inspire others around you to want to partake in your extraordinary accomplishments.
In fact, the younger you are the easier it will be to ride those bumps and to seek help. Youth can be a great advantage when finding mentors and advisers. People are very willing to lend tips and advice to young entrepreneurs. You will fail a lot early on, but you will overcome failure and come out with better preparedness, better skills, and an awesome brand which is yours forever. This book is an incredible resource for young entrepreneurs and is a must read! The lessons learned in this book will inspire anyone to chase after their ambitious goals and dreams with insights into how you can succeed.
So are you a young starter? Are you in high school, college, or early on in your career? Are you unhappy with your career decisions or job? Are you a mentor or an adviser needing great inspiration to share? Are you wanting to try that new idea, new hobby, or pursue that passion you’ve always wanted to try? Are you over your career and you’re looking for new adventures and experiences? Then stop waiting, stop thinking and start doing.