At YouTern, we’ve been talking a lot lately about the “Gig Economy” and how the workplace will soon be dominated by contractors, super-temps and freelancers.
But about that other group of independently-minded young careerist who wants to go it alone… but wants to build something amazing – like their own start-up or small business.
Yep, we’re talking about a person taking independence to a whole ‘nother level: the entrepreneur.
And so we don’t leave them out of the recent conversations about going it alone, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council this question:
What advice would you give young professionals with visions of entrepreneurship right out of college?
Here are some of their insightful answers!
1. Jump Right In
You have the world ahead of you so jump right in, go for it, make mistakes, and don’t be afraid to fail. The next decade ahead of you will be some of the most amazing years of entrepreneurial growth for you. Do not be afraid that you don’t have experience; just go do it and get your experience in the trenches. Learn from others along the way who have been where you want to go.
2. Find a Mentor
Success in entrepreneurship can seem daunting when you lack both experience and guidance, which are normally gained by working for someone.
Since you’re your own boss, adopt good mentors and take their words and example to heart.
3. Start While You’re in College
A lot of people run their life by saying “I’m going to do this when X happens.” College students think the professional world starts when they graduate. Wrong. The professional world starts whenever you want it to, but sooner is better than later. Joining the world of entrepreneurship starts when you go to events, build a team and start tinkering with your ideas. Get started today.
4. Work for a Startup
Before diving into entrepreneurship, GenZ graduates should intern or work for an existing early-stage startup so they can see what it’s like to not only work in the startup environment, but also build a company from the ground up. They will be able to work alongside the startup’s owner (a seasoned entrepreneur) and discover what it’s really like to run a business.
5. Build the Basic Skills
A lot of success with entrepreneurship comes with having the solid building blocks of skills to get started. That means a basic understanding of things like SEO, copywriting and marketing, to name a few. You need to have a basic understanding of all of these in order to see success over the long term. From there, you can find partners or outsource what doesn’t fall into your wheelhouse.
6. Pick an Area of Focus
Become relentless in the pursuit of learning about a given industry or area of focus. Find successful businesses, leaders and experts in the field and study up on them. The more time one invests in learning and researching a particular industry, technology or process, the more opportunities present themselves. Developing this knowledge takes devotion, but is invaluable and very possible.
7. Don’t Quit Your Day Job
I’ve seen so many people quit their jobs to start a company. Don’t quit your job! Start your company on the side while you’re learning/working at a day job. Once your company becomes more profitable than your salary, then you can quit your job and focus on your company full time. This will relieve a tremendous amount of pressure and urgency, and really allow you to focus.
8. Fail Quickly
A true entrepreneur is going to start many businesses in a lifetime. It is important to start businesses that are worthwhile for you, but also businesses that succeed. Sometimes, even with proper planning, businesses fail. If you understand that a business model is not working, change it up. It doesn’t mean that you yourself are a failure; it means you are on to the next big thing.
9. Know How and When to Turn Down Opportunities
An important skill for an entrepreneur is to learn how to distinguish the opportunities that are worth pursuing versus the ones that are not. The most valuable asset to an entrepreneur is time. The last thing you want to do is waste time by heading down a road that might lead to nowhere. On the contrary, you never want to shut out an opportunity that might have potential down the road.
10. Build a Cash-Flow Business Before Raising Money
Most early visions of entrepreneurship are missing one key ingredient: profit. I think it’s important to have some early success as an entrepreneur coming out of college, whether it’s providing a service or consulting, so you learn to create value others are willing to pay for. Ideas about the next Uber are dime a dozen, but the ability to make cash on your own makes you an entrepreneur.
11. Find Fellow Entrepreneur Friends
You will need a community of professionals who truly understand what’s required emotionally, physically and financially of an entrepreneur for advice, support and resource exchanges. Having fellow entrepreneurs at your disposal is especially crucial in the beginning stages and at growth points. Finding local and national organizations for networking and meeting entrepreneurs is a great place to start.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.