Becoming an entrepreneur is especially attractive to millennials.
They are looking for new and different ways to work and are not finding them in traditional organizations. They don’t want a 9-5 workday – they want to assume tasks and projects and determine when and how they will attack them. While they are often called lazy, in fact they are not.
They just want to work differently.
Generation Y appears to be following in the footsteps of millennials in terms of their beliefs about work. They, too, are prime candidates for entrepreneurship, if they can develop the required skills and leadership abilities.
10 Success Tips for the Young Entrepreneur
So, what does it take to be a successful entrepreneur?
Many say it is a combination of luck (developing the right product or service at just the right time) and lots of work (setting goals and going after them with determination). Here are 10 pieces of advice that come from successful entrepreneurs.
1. One Potato at a Time
Like many crops, potatoes are planted and harvested one at a time.
This is great advice for the new entrepreneur too. It is so easy to want to jump in with several possible ventures at a time, hoping that one or two will “pan out.”
There are lots of opportunities out there, but if you look at those entrepreneurs who have really made it, they began with a single focused idea – they knew that there would be plenty of time to branch out and diversify down the road.
The key concept here is focus. Pick an idea about which you have great passion and put all of your energy into its development.
2. Do What You Know
If you have a passion for something, chances are you know a bit about it.
This is a big plus going in. If your strengths, knowledge, and skills like in the area, you can focus more on development and marketing from the very beginning, not on learning something from “ground zero.”
If you have some great ideas for apps and you have pretty solid coding skills, then you probably need a creative to partner up with, but you do have lots of initial knowledge that will let you get rolling immediately.
If you majored in interior design, and you love it, then choose a venture that is connected.
Richard Branson was a high school dropout who loved music – so much so that he found ways to make money with what he knew and loved. Obviously, he has since branched out, but his first successes came from what he already knew.
3. Develop Your Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is an explanation of your business in 30-seconds or less – the amount of time it might take to ride on an elevator from one floor to the next.
The goal is to be able to tell a stranger what it is you do, with enthusiasm and clarity, when you then hand them your card.
Getting this pitch down will also clarify for yourself what your goal is – repeating it to yourself should become your mantra.
4. Identify What You Don’t Know
You have certain knowledge and skills.
You probably do not have every skill required to operate a business. Perhaps you know the production side of the product you are selling.
What do you know about content marketing? Probably very little. If you plan to market your product online, then you need an expert who can develop the strategy and put it into action.
There is not embarrassment in asking for help. It is, actually, a sign of intelligence.
5. Be a Startup
You are not a confirmed success yet – you can face many ups and downs, and some may be expensive.
Even though you may have the personal money to do so, resist the urge to get that fancy office and that great new car. Keep your overhead low and keep that reserve high.
6. Embrace Your Experience (and Failures)
There are two extremes in startups that usually fail.
The first is the individual who jumps in with no plan at all and ends up with too many fires to put out. The second would-be entrepreneur spends so much time planning for every possible detail and every potential pitfall that s/he never actually launches.
Be the entrepreneur in the middle. You have a plan; but you also know that you cannot anticipate every “fire” that flares up. You deal with them as they do flare, and you may make some mistakes along the way.
Every one of them is a learning experience, so keep learning and don’t make the same mistake twice.
7. Assume that You Will Not Get Investors
This is the best assumption to have. Base your plans on not getting any funding. Be frugal and stay within the general budget you have developed.
Making your business profitable with only your own resources, slight as they may be, is a huge selling point in the long run, and you may just get those investors down the road.
They will be impressed with your skills and the leadership you have shown by reaching the first level of success.
8. Guard Your Health
Part of an entrepreneur’s lifestyle is long hours, stress, and real periods of roller coaster riding.
All of this is to be expected, and it could take its toll on your body. Getting rest when you can, exercising, and trading out the fast food and energy drinks for decent food will go a long way toward your ability to keep energy levels up.
A corporate job will pay you when you are sick – your business won’t.
9. Don’t Lie to Yourself and Others
You can be enthusiastic about your business without embellishing the truth about how great it’s going. Be positive but realistic, even with yourself.
Saying, “I love what I do and I am making good progress. We hope to be ‘in the black’ soon,” is the perfect response when your business is new. Everyone expects that.
10. Don’t Let Your Ego Make You Foolish
If your business is clearly on the rocks, accept it.
Close up shop, reflect on what went wrong and what mistakes you can avoid in the future. This is not the end of your entrepreneurial career. Pick up the pieces, get another great idea and start again. You are a much wiser business owner now.
There may be many other pieces of advice that you will receive. Take them in, chew on them, and see if they speak to you.
So you have tips for an early entrepreneur that were not mentioned here? Please add them.
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