Becoming an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. It takes incredible courage and commitment – and there are absolutely no guarantees other than you will probably work harder than you ever have. Starting a business is challenging at any age, but can be especially challenging in your twenties and early thirties when you don’t have a lot of experience or capital under your belt.
I spent the past month interviewing over 30 entrepreneurs in their twenties and thirties as part of The Quarterlife Upgrade. I did this because I wanted quarterlifers to be able to hear relatable and actionable advice from people of their generation. From entrepreneurs who are successful but aren’t so far down the road that they don’t remember the challenges at the beginning. From people who would be candid and give us a “behind-the-scenes” look of what it really takes to leave the security of working for someone else. The advice was real, raw, and incredibly insightful. Here are some highlights from the interviews:
- The most important ingredients are initiative and discipline. If you aren’t a self-started and have trouble being accountable to yourself, starting your own biz probably isn’t for you.
- There is so much you don’t know – and even more that you don’t know you don’t know. So don’t wait until you feel ready and totally knowable. Just start.
- Look at the problems around you as an opportunity for a business. Only start a business if there is a specific problem you can solve and be really clear on how you can uniquely solve it.
- You will make mistakes. Lots of them. Get comfortable with failure and instead of beating yourself up when it happens, look for the lessons.
- Overnight success is not possible. Period. Be patient and focus on one step at a time.
- Take care of yourself. Burnout is NOT a badge of honor. Sleep, exercise, eat green things, get outside and spend time away from your computer
- Find a way to integrate conscious capitalism into your business, even if it is just giving away 1% or spend one day a month taking your team to volunteer. Align yourself with a cause to keep the “big picture” in mind.
- Don’t try to do it all, focus on the 5% you’re great at and delegate the rest! Delegation and building a great team is KEY to running a successful business. Not investing in hiring other people (even part time or interns) is NOT a way to save – it can actually cost you money.
- Employ the 24 hour rule before making any decision. There’s a lot of moving parts when it comes to running a business. Almost ALL decisions do not have to be immediate (no matter how urgent they seem).
- Drop perfectionism!! It is totally impossible and will make you crazy. Do the best you can but don’t pressure yourself to do everything perfectly or look perfect.
- Look into co-working spaces to increase productivity and mindset. Sitting alone in your apartment can be depleting and make you a lot less interesting. The path of an entrepreneur can be isolating so do things to get yourself out there.
- Write down what you want to be known for and the legacy you want to leave. Don’t just think about profit and results — consider the PERSON you want to be. A list of your professional and character traits is an essential part of your business plan.
To get more great tips on being an entrepreneur, advancing in your career, creating great relationships, managing your money, and improving your health and well-being, register for FREE for the Quarterlife Upgrade to have access to over 30 hours of inspiring and information video interviews from Gen Y leaders like Dan Schawbel. Click here to register for free.
Christine Hassler, MA is an Author, Life Coach, Speaker and Gen Y expert who helps people overcome Expectation Hangovers®. She’s been known as the go-to personal growth expert for Quarterlifers since 2005. www.christinehassler.com