Let me tell you an amazing story about a young entrepreneur.
As a teenager, he struggled in school, even though he was very bright. His problem—dyslexia—was a familiar one, although poorly understood at the time. After failing to find his place at school, this 16-year-old boy made a huge decision: He dropped out of school to launch a business. His first venture, a magazine for young people called Student, sold $8,000 in advertising in advance of its first issue.
Clearly, this was no ordinary school dropout, but rather a budding young entrepreneur with a real talent for business. He would go on to found a record label, and would ultimately become one of world’s wealthiest people.
His name? None other than Richard Branson of the Virgin Group.
People like the young Richard have exceptional innate gifts that lend themselves perfectly to entrepreneurship. They are optimistic, bursting with energy and full of big hopes and dreams. What they lack, however, is experience. But with a little help and mentoring, this inexperience can be overcome, and young entrepreneurs can embark on the road to success.
Here are some tips for budding teen entrepreneurs:
- Don’t Sell Yourself Short
A great idea is a great idea, and a thriving business is a thriving business, regardless of who runs it. Teenaged entrepreneurs should never feel that their business is any less legitimate than a business run by an adult.
Take Taylor Rosenthal, for example. This 14-year-old started an innovative new company that uses vending machines to dispense first aid products. The business was so intriguing that it was able to raise $100,000 from investors and generate a $30 million sale offer. And the best part: Taylor said no thanks to the proposed sale because he believes his company is worth $50 million. Now, that’s a young entrepreneur who knows his worth.
- Maximize Social Media
How powerful are platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? Consider the story of 16-year-old Ben Kapelushnick, who started his own online sneaker resale business. Kapelushnick began selling rare sneakers and was able to draw the attention of a variety of celebrity clients, including NFL star Odell Beckham, Jr.
Once some of Ben’s famous clients began posting photos of the shoes on social media, his business exploded. He sold more than $1 million in shoes last year, and is poised to continue growing. The lesson: Social media influencers can have a massive impact, so try to cultivate a high-impact following. Use these trending platforms to spread the word about your new business.
- Rely on a Support Network
When you are young, it is important to have the support of people who can help you navigate the process of starting a business. Let’s face it, it would be very unusual if a teenager had all the answers and knew all of the ins and outs of creating a business. This is difficult even for adults.
But having the right mentor or support network will prevent you from common mistakes many young entrepreneurs make like mismanaging money or being ignorant of business laws. With the right people in your corner, your odds of succeeding will increase exponentially.
- Believe in Yourself
Nick D’Aloisio, a young computer programmer, began developing a mobile news app in high school. The finished product, called Summly, became so popular that it drew the attention of Yahoo!, who then bought the app for $30 million. This all occurred while Nick still had a year-and-a-half of high school remaining.
Nick’s success is a reminder that it’s never too early to dream big. In fact, it’s entirely possible to start a company that makes a major impact on the world even if you are still too young for prom.
The Bottom Line
Being a teenager shouldn’t deter you from following your vocation and becoming a successful entrepreneur. Sometimes, the passion of youth juxtaposed with a great idea and the right connections is the perfect formula for success.
Contact me for more information about fulfilling your dream to become a successful entrepreneur. It’s never too early to start!