You’re never too young to be the boss. We often think that we need more education, more experience, more years under our belts before we can strike out on our own. And those things can be valuable, but you don’t necessarily need them to make your foray into young entrepreneurship. In the corporate world, age is nothing but a number. Read on for inspiring tales of young entrepreneurs who took the business world by storm and how you can do the same.
Young Entrepreneurs Who Didn’t Let Age Deter Them
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO
Mark Zuckerberg had a billion dollar idea to change the face of the Internet and he ran with it (all the way to the bank)! Collaborating with partners at the age of 19, Zuckerberg launched “The Facebook” from his Ivy league dorm room. He had an idea that he knew was valuable so he didn’t wait until he had graduated and picked up some work experience – he was confident in his product and jumped right in. It wasn’t always easy – he had to pick up a lot of management skills on the fly and faced down several lawsuits and scandals. But with some flexibility, a willingness to learn, and a lot of luck, he has become incredibly successful. Today, Facebook (minus its “The”) reports a staggering 1.65 billion monthly users. Meanwhile, CEO Zuckerberg has an estimated net worth of $56 billion.
Andrew Mason, Groupon CEO
Andrew Mason founded the online coupon business Groupon in his twenties. Again, he had a great idea and jumped right in. Now, at age 29, Mason is worth an estimated $600 million. Even more amazing, Mason started Groupon with just a million dollars in seed money from his prior employer. Talk about an amazing return on investment!
Robert Nay, CEO and Founder of Nay Games
Robert Nay created a mobile game app called “Bubble Ball” at the tender of age of 14. In the two weeks after its debut, Bubble Ball would be downloaded more than a million times (toppling the Angry Birds record). Perhaps even more impressive is that the game’s inventor had never coded before! But he had an idea and went ahead and tried to create it. Sometimes the flexibility and enthusiasm of youth is a terrific asset!
Robert Nay would go on to build his company Nay Games off the back of “Bubble Ball’s” lucrative success. His advice to young people: “You can do amazing things if you just try.”
Time-Tested Keys to Success (No Matter How Old You Are)
No matter whether you’re nine years old or ninety years old, some business principles transcend age and time. Here are our time-tested keys to entrepreneurial success, no matter how young (or not so young) you may be.
1. Find a Star Mentor
The right mentor can be an invaluable resource to every entrepreneur, but especially to young entrepreneurs who are new to the business world. Knowing that you have someone seasoned to bounce ideas off of can help you take your vision to the next level. They can also help you anticipate problems and opportunities so you can address them early on rather than getting caught by surprise.
2. Admit What You Don’t Know
When you’re leading the company or developing the product, you’re expected to juggle a dozen different jobs. In order to excel at heading up your company, you need to be open to admitting that you don’t know everything. Especially if you find success in young entrepreneurship, you’re not going to be able to do everything it takes to run your business. You’re going to need to be able to pick up new skills and judge when it makes more sense to outsource or defer to others. Flexibility is key at any age.
The SBA has courses and programs geared specifically to Millennium Entrepreneurs. Check out this link for courses and business resources relevant to Young Entrepreneurs.
3. Demonstrate a Willingness to Work Hard
Entrepreneurs must be willing to put in the time and energy to see their pipe dream through to fruition. It’s not easy, it’s not quick, and sometimes, it can be enough to make you throw in the towel. Any entrepreneur worth their salt will tell you that they’ve had the same experience at some point during their entrepreneurial journey. Have faith that you’re in good company.
Some experts posit that young entrepreneurship comes with own unique set of challenges. Youth may be on your side in terms of energy and stamina, but it may be a roadblock when you’re the face of the company. Trying to solicit investments and pitch business ideas when you’re in your late teens takes some practice. Investors may assume that young people are less dedicated or capable, no matter how good their ideas are. So you’ll need to really show that you’re in it for the long haul.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Young Entrepreneurship
Youth doesn’t preclude you from business greatness! Look to the examples of Facebook, Groupon, and other successful young entrepreneurs for inspiration. If you have the drive, the energy, and the commitment, then your own business is well with your reach – no matter how many candles were on your last birthday cake.