An Exceptional Action Course to Stay Motivated as a Young Entrepreneur
Life follows the same routine circle — get a high school degree, find a comfortable desk job, build a career, start a family, and finally retire. If all this seems mundane and a lack of satisfaction begins to creep in, you may be a young budding entrepreneur in the making.
For a young entrepreneur, motivation comes hard. The very first step to initiate an action plan is the hardest. There are a million questions running through your mind —
What if I fail before I take off?
What if the budget isn’t enough to run the business?
What if I’m unable to recruit exceptional employees to run my business?
What if this…?
What if that…?
All the “What if…” questions prevent you from achieving your entrepreneurial goals. Guess what? All the successful young entrepreneurs began their journey just like you, with one major exception — they found an answer to their “What if…” questions and achieved success.
Hence, we’ve prepared the perfect guide to enable you to reach your ambitions and set up your business with the right mindset.
WHY YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS ARE POISED TO SUCCEED
A young man who was fed up with life decided to quit his school out of boredom and began to travel around the world in search of motivation. After receiving spiritual enlightenment through his travels, he came back and founded his company. The company went on to become one of the largest companies in the world. Today, the young man by the name of Steve Jobs needs no introduction.
This is what motivation can do to a young entrepreneur. It’s the defining line between success and failure.
Motivation comes in various ways, but it’s generally agreed upon that the younger you’re, the harder it’s to be motivated.
The below 3 reasons will demonstrate why a younger entrepreneur is likely to succeed.
Young Entrepreneurs are more likely to envision long-term successful goals
What do Mark Zuckerberg, Chad Hurley, and Andrew Mason have in common?
Well, to begin with, they are all owners of successful businesses such as Facebook, YouTube, and Groupon, respectively. But one defining feature about them is the fact that they all make it to the list of the youngest millionaires of the world.
Take Mark Zuckerberg for instance, he was just another average programmer who was fascinated by computers and programming. Zuckerberg would enroll himself into workshops and design various programs and gain a reputation on the campus of Harvard. Soon, his motivation grew, and with it, his hunger for success. He worked long hours into the night to design a tool that could connect the entire world.
The dream became a reality in 2004 when Facebook went live. Suddenly, he was the hottest name around the block and today, we see his brilliance marked in lists such as “Time’s 100 influential and wealthiest people in the world”.
So, what’s stopping you from being the next Mark Zuckerberg?
The answer is an Action Plan. And that’s exactly where we’re heading to in our next section.
Young Entrepreneurs always have an action plan
An action plan enables us to move through life in a set manner. We can measure our success growth and make immediate changes to our lifestyle to better reflect on our goals.
More importantly, an action plan gives us a timescale with a completion date to review our progress and make necessary changes to achieve that goal.
“Businesses from younger entrepreneurs leave a bigger mark on society when they succeed and leave a lighter mark when they fail”.
This statement explains the positive impact of being a young entrepreneur. You’re allowed to make mistakes because you are young. You have the time and energy to take huge risks. In fact, even if your business fails to take off, you’re easily let off the hook because you’re considered ill-experienced.
However, if your business is a roaring success, you get to enjoy the spotlight. With so many positives, there’s no reason to fear taking up the reins of entrepreneurship at an early age.
To understand yourself better, we’ve provided an evaluation method below. Mark/Tick the statements below that apply to you the best. Later, you’ll be provided with results on how you’ve fared.
We’d like you to be fully honest when ticking the statements to give you a full evaluation on the type of your entrepreneur you currently are.
- I don’t just dream, I turn my thoughts into actions
- Time is something I never take for granted
- I break my goals into smaller objectives to achieve my vision
- Change is necessary, I’m not afraid to change things that don’t work
- I’m responsible for my own actions, no one else is to blame
- I believe in teamwork to achieve success and growth
- A risk is a necessary tool to achieve a glorifying reward
- Profit is a byproduct of a successful business. It’s not my only goal
- I’m not afraid of failure. I’m only afraid of not trying enough
- Every action requires patience to fully blossom into a result
The following statements are a code that successful entrepreneurs live by. By ticking the options, you get to understand how much or how well you reflect a successful entrepreneur’s mindset. If you’ve —
- Marked more than 8 statements. Congratulations! You’re closer to your entrepreneurial goal than you think you are.
- Marked between 5 to 8 statements. Well done. While not quite there yet, you need to establish ground rules for your lifestyle, and you’ll be on your way to running a successful enterprise in no time.
- Marked less than 5 statements. A lot of work needs to get done to get you into the “Successful Entrepreneur” block. There’s no need to fret, everyone starts somewhere, and this is your time.
Now that we’ve established where you stand in terms of your entrepreneurial psyche. Let’s move on to the next important subject for a young entrepreneur to understand — Adaptability.
Young Entrepreneurs are adaptable and more risk tolerant compared to their senior counterparts
One thing we can all agree on is the fact that most entrepreneurs above the age of 45 often tend to stick with the same working formula for years. While a working formula doesn’t necessarily mean success in the coming generation, the ability to change decisions on the run is what makes younger entrepreneurs so adaptable.
While being experienced and old has its own advantages, it’s limited by the fact that the older you’re the lesser room you have for mistakes. This arguably is the greatest advantage a young entrepreneur holds over a seasoned one. Risk tolerance is the ability to soak up damage caused to your business by an action taken by you.
Let’s understand this with an example.
Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX fame wasn’t as successful as he is today. Musk had earned $250 million from PayPal and other internet ventures during his younger years. His funds began to dwindle when he decided to start his two companies. In 2008, during the financial strain, Musk was facing a major dilemma between shutting his automobile companies or risk investing the last $35 million left in his bank account.
If you were in his position, what would you’ve done? Many of us would have settled for a luxurious life having $35 million in our bank accounts. After all, what good is risking everything in an idea that is about to fail, right?
Wrong! Elon Musk went on to invest the $35 million completely into his company and the gutsy gamble paid off — his company is now worth $2.5 billion in terms of revenue.
Being young, he was certain that he could earn back the money if he failed to turn the company into a profitable venture. This courageous move has now gained him fame across the business world as a smart and aspiring entrepreneur.
The willingness to adapt to a situation is a core trait of a successful entrepreneur. Adaptability, when combined with opportunity, is a powerful combo.
While it’s not always a good idea to take risks, calculated risks are less subject to failure as compared to a spur-of-the-moment decision.
There isn’t a single successful entrepreneur on this planet that hasn’t been subjected to taking a risky decision at one time or another in his life. This is what successful entrepreneurship is all about — the ability to take risks and your ability to adapt to these situations.
In the next section, we’ll investigate ways to succeed as a young entrepreneur and how you can achieve your goals by following simple rules.
4 TIPS FOR YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS TO SUCCEED IN THE REAL WORLD
1. Start today with a Personal Mission Statement
In the words of the famous Bill Gates, “If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good”. The biggest hurdle for a young entrepreneur is to begin his journey.
Initiating the very first step shouldn’t take up half of your life.
It’s alright to make mistakes, there is no perfect plan that you should abide by. Successful entrepreneurs need to get past the subjective hurdles as well as the objective hurdles.
To get you started, here are 4 questions with their explanations as to why you should ask yourself these questions before you start your business.
1. What are my core values?
Your core values define you as a person. Examples of core values include —
If any of these apply to you simply write it down on a piece of paper, you can add your own values to the list too. When an entrepreneur starts his business, his or her core values are rudiments of building a successful company.
Your core values shape the company in the direction they are heading. For example — Steve Jobs had the following core values
- Innovative thinker
Now, let’s look at Apple, the company he founded — Apple’s main motto is “Think Different”. Apple is fearless when it comes to competitions and taking a new route forward with newer innovations. Apple as a company was patient enough not to sell stocks even during the years it didn’t do well.
All these core values were instilled in the company by Steve Jobs and even today many of the workforce employed at Apple still follow the same course of actions.
Therefore, it’s important to understand your core values before you begin your business.
2. What is my story?
A business isn’t just a profit-making venture. It’s more than just money to an entrepreneur. It tells the story of why a single business took shape and what the story behind the company was.
Employees will feel passionate to work for a company with a story than a company that is just in it for the money. Even customers feel pride in buying the products of a company that has a story behind it.
To get to know your own story, the three important words that you ask yourself are —Why, How, and What?
We’ll use an example explaining these three important words and how they can tell a story.
Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975. It was a company that dealt with computer technology and has some of the bestselling products around the globe.
Why did Bill Gates create Microsoft? — Microsoft was created by Bill Gates to answer an age-old problem that was prevalent in the early 1970s — lack of GUI and multitasking. Bill Gates wanted a personal computer available in every home with a user-friendly operating system attached to it. He wanted everyone to innovate and realize their dreams using computer technology.
What was the biggest challenge Bill Gates faced during his tenure with Microsoft? — During the early days, when Microsoft was launched, it was a successful venture. MITS soon found out that Gates was too young to be running a company and the news spread like wildfire. People stopped buying computers sourced by Microsoft and this caused a financial strain to sustain Microsoft. Gates also dropped out of college and it was incredibly hard to convince his parents. Despite all these obstacles, Gates made Microsoft one of the largest companies in the world.
How did Bill Gates become the richest man in the world? — At a tender age of 13, Bill Gates was introduced to computers at his local prep school. He spent much time learning about them and how programming works. He built his company Microsoft with one motive — to provide personal computers to everyone across the world. This dream in him saw him solve bugs and issues that other developers at the time couldn’t solve. And hence, through his company’s profits, he became the wealthiest person in the world.
As you can see, three simple words to start a question and how they tell a story. If your business has no story to tell years down the line, it won’t have the energy behind it and there won’t be a success story to tell the world.
3. What problem am I trying to solve with my business?
The basic truth of starting a business is — “without a problem, there is no need for a service”. When starting a business, it’s important to understand what problems your business would like to solve and how it would solve it while making a profit.
Let’s say you live in a neighborhood with plenty of children but there are no toy stores nearby. In fact, you realize that the nearest toy store is a good 10 miles away from the neighborhood. You’ve now come across a problem — the acquisition of toys for the parents of these children.
By starting a toy store in the neighborhood, you’ll now have plenty of customers coming over to buy toys for their children. You’ll also need to conduct research on the following areas to get the best idea. Some research questions to ask yourself are —
- How many children live in the neighborhood and within 10 miles of the nearest toy store?
- How many families are below the poverty line?
- How many families can afford the toys at the price you’re selling at?
- Is there a demand for any specific set of toys?
- Do you procure the toys from a wholesaler or directly manufacture the toys?
Collect information through surveys before starting a business to understand about an existing problem. Once you understand that there is demand for a product, it’s simply a case of establishing a supply.
4. What’s my USP?
Unique Selling Proposition or USP is the difference maker on whether you’ll cash in on the profits or fail in establishing a business. Even if there’s a demand for a specific product, it won’t be solved just by supplying the product or service. You’ll need to think long-term and that’s where USP comes into the picture.
If your product has a unique specialty about it that people could use, then it’s a winning idea. For E.g. We all buy boring black umbrellas during the monsoon season. Imagine if you came up with an idea to add motivational quotes and other animated cartoons on these umbrellas to give them a vibrant look. People with a creative mind will always look for your brand when choosing to buy umbrellas with a unique twist to it.
Similarly, another great example of USP is M&Ms. Yes! We are talking about the world-famous candies that “Don’t melt in your hand but melt in your mouth”. The very fact that their chocolate didn’t melt in people’s hands and make a mess became their biggest USP in making them a worldwide success.
If you can come up with a similar USP for your brand, without a doubt, you can catapult it to success with the right means.
2. Get a Routine Down on Paper
Being a young entrepreneur, it’s easy to lose focus of your goals and put them off for another day. That’s why successful entrepreneurs usually have a fixed routine that they live by. Here are some of the successful routines followed by well-known entrepreneurs.
1. Jon Braddock — founder of My Life & Wishes
Jon believes in showing gratitude to every new day as a fresh start. Whatever the problems of yesterday are no longer of concern. It’s the challenges of today that he focuses on. His morning routine consists of —
- Gets up at 5:30 am and freshens up
- Drinks 20 ounces of fresh water to kickstart metabolism
- Sets goals for two of the biggest things to achieve for the day
2. Adele McLay — motivational speaker
Adele believes the key to motivation comes from within the mind. Hence, she never fails to wake up early in the morning while the rest of the world is fast asleep. She believes to channel meditation to the mind; early morning is the best time to do it.
- Gets up at 4:15 am with the help of an alarm clock
- Hits the gym for a workout at 5 am
- Back home at 6 am for a meditating session
- At 7 am visualizes the goals needed for the rest of the day
- 8 am work begins
3. Tim Draper — Founding partner of VC firm DFJ
Being organized is everything for Tim Draper. Without order, humans have no value for time and hence have no respect for their work.
- Rises early morning to play basketball
- Has three eggs for breakfast after a shower
- Checks his email and sends out mail to the team to get the workday going
- During the commute, he learns of the challenges facing his company and comes up with a plan
4. Ian Clark — CEO of Activation Products
Ian believes nutrients help the brain concentrate and is big on fitness. His morning routine consists of a hectic physical workout and a nutritious breakfast. After all, a content stomach and a healthy body have enough positive energy to run the entire day.
- Drinks cleansing mineral in one ounce of water to purify digestive system
- Performs 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training to get the blood pumping
- Eats a healthy breakfast of vegetables and organic chicken
- Finishes off the morning routine with a green smoothie
5. Dr. Nick Zyrowski — founder of NuVision Health Center
Being a doctor and an entrepreneur isn’t easy. Dr. Nick demonstrates that by utilizing the earlier part of the day to accomplish most of your reviewing goals, it’s manageable to have two lives without going through the stress of it.
- Wakes up at 6:30 am
- Spends the first 30 minutes after waking up in meditation
- Drinks his coffee and reads the latest news around the globe
- 30 minutes before work, begins to review the goals of the day
- Has a very light breakfast and a handful of supplements
One thing that is common among the above entrepreneurs is they all utilize their entire day and wake up early. Being a young entrepreneur, time is a coveted resource and a productive routine comes in handy. A morning routine sets up the entire day to be productive. When starting a new routine, you’ll undoubtedly want to laze around in your bed and hit the snooze button until it breaks. But we’ve come up with a simple routine that shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes and will ensure you have a productive day ahead.
- Ensure your alarm is set 30 minutes before your actual waking time, this way when you hit the snooze you’ll end up waking up on time
- Brush your teeth and wash your face immediately upon waking up to ensure you don’t have the impulse to hit the pillows again
- Drink 2-3 glasses of fresh water to get your system hydrated and give your brain the much-needed blood
- Spend 15 minutes meditating. Don’t think of anything else other than positive and happy thoughts. Clear thinking has proven to be a positive head start for successful entrepreneurs.
- After meditation, listen to a motivational speech urging you to accomplish your goals. This way you can focus on your actions instead of putting it off for another day
- Perform simple exercises like jumping jacks and stretching exercises. You want to be sure you’re up for the challenge to take on any hurdle that comes your way
- Finally, complete the morning routine with a shower and get ready for an exciting day filled with a million possibilities
We give you our word, in a month or two, you won’t need a schedule and you’ll add your own unique steps to make a great morning routine. You’ll be surprised at just how much you accomplish in a single day that you previously couldn’t accomplish for days.
3. Establish Plenty of Reminders
A reminder serves as a memory to never forget to follow the steps that you started the business with. Often young entrepreneurs when starting out get overconfident after tasting early success. They forget all the values and important reminders that they set up prior to launching the business and lose their way in the process.
Here are 5 reminders to help you remain focused on your path to success.
1. Don’t be afraid to tell your clients that it’s a new business
Don’t create a fake story and build it up by acting like you’re a veteran at what you do. Your clients will immediately understand if you’re a beginner or a professional at your business within the first few weeks. The only difference, they might not want to work with a dishonest business but if you were honest, they’ll be willing to go easy on your first few goofs.
2. Your first customers are precious
Think of your first customers as the most important people in the world. These are people that are willing to try out your product or service without any feedback or positive testimonial on your side.
It’s your job to impress the hell out of them.
Neglecting your first few customers can cause you to hunt for other customers without any valid backing and this can take months or years.
3. Don’t take help for free
When operating in a business it might sound like a great idea to take up offers from friends for free. Do understand that this is your business, free help doesn’t automatically mean professional service all the time.
If you want to treat your business in a professional manner, hire the best professionals to do the job for you. It’s alright to offer free professional help to others in the future but just don’t be the one taking it.
4. Offer freebies during your launch phase
When launching your business, it’s a good idea to switch off your mind from a profit-making mentality and convert it into a lead generating mentality.
When you offer a free service or product, customers will be delighted and will return as a buying customer if they liked what they tried.
The best part is when you offer a freebie, your customers are bound to pass on the message to their friends and family. Word-of-mouth advertising is free advertising, so your freebie isn’t a total loss of time and efforts but you’re investing in brand awareness.
5. Show up to all meetings
Not attending meetings and other important events happening in your company is complete ignorance. Your employees lose motivation working for a lazy boss and the overall productive rate of the company will slump down. Be a stern and responsible boss. Unless you have an emergency, there’s absolutely no reason to miss any meeting, no matter how small it is.
Finally, the most important advice to remind yourself from time to time is to — Follow through. Ask your employees how their day has been, check on how the day-to-day operations are moving, and find a solution to an ongoing problem within the company instead of putting it off for another day.
4. Prepare Incentives to Reward Employees
Put yourself in the shoes of your employee and ask the following questions —
If you were depressed, unrewarded, and unmotivated, would you enjoy coming to the office?
Imagine being constantly subjected to angry rants and rude comments, is this the way you’d want your work culture to expand?
A big No! Employees love being recognized and appreciated directly from their leader and this increases their productivity to work for you. Sometimes, a nice greeting can alter their mood from negative to positive and you can make their day. Other times, you need to reward your employees for working efficiently. This way they know their efforts aren’t going unseen.
Some ways to incentivize your employees are —
- Flexible work hours – Employees love coming to work with a flexible timing. A simple change in timing can allow working mothers to not put their little tykes in costly daycare and still be able to perform their work at their best.
- Pizza Parties – Everyone loves pizza and employees love food surprises the most. To know that their boss hosts a pizza party every time a big deal has been secured will give them enough motivation to work for the next big lead.
- Day Off Pass – Imagine rewarding your employee with a day off for a job well done. Nothing gives them more happiness than spending time with their families or taking the day out to pamper themselves crazy.
- Gift Coupons – Sponsor travel tickets to the most hard-working employee every month and watch them work the hardest for the company.
- Birthday Cakes – Remembering your employees on their special day demonstrates an active boss that truly cares for his employees. Have a cake cutting session with your employees on their birthday to truly show them they are an integral part of the company.
- Casual Dress Day – Allowing one day of the week to be a casual dress day will make your employees come up with various fashion attires that they otherwise couldn’t show off to their colleagues. It also lets them understand that the office isn’t a scary prison-like environment.
- Certificate of Achievement – Presenting certificates for reaching a milestone is a great way of rewarding your employees. It will also help them secure better jobs for their careers in the future.
- Hand-written note – These days everything has printed material and it doesn’t feel heartfelt when the note has printed fonts on them. Writing a letter with your own handwriting to an employee and highlighting their accomplishments is something they will treasure for the rest of their life.
An employee will go above and beyond to give their best for the company when they know their boss truly appreciates their work. A workplace shouldn’t feel like a prison where they are forced to work but must feel like a playground where work feels fun and part of their daily life. If a young entrepreneur can keep his employees happy, he has achieved half of his successful dream in the making.
In short, successful entrepreneur ship isn’t about how successful you are in your first year of business. It’s measured on how many years you’re able to run your business with minor issues.
In summary, the biggest traits to have for an entrepreneur are —
- Ability to manage thoughts
- Find a purpose
- Handle your team
- Achieve goals on time
- Take regular breaks and enjoy the profits!
In Palo Alto (CA), we talked with venture capitalist Andrew Ogawa from Quest Venture Partners …