Lack of experience, no knowledge, zero funding. These are immediate thoughts when you’re thinking about starting a business for most young entrepreneurs. I felt the same way and that’s why I started a business.
How much is experience worth when it comes to getting the job of your dreams? Without the right amount of experience you can forget about applying for most cushy jobs. I mean, if you don’t have experience, what type of knowledge could you practically have about being able to produce results? That is inherently the problem of being young whether you’ve graduated with a degree or are looking for your first job in highschool.
Now I’ll say all of this with the caveat that there’s many ways to gain experience like shadowing and internships. Those are awesome resources and certainly ones that come with less risk. More than likely though if your career doesn’t require post-graduate work you could gain first hand experience and knowledge.
Below are a few areas of self-development I believe being an entrepreneur has helped sharpen.
- Confidence – A person with confidence is likeable. Your ability to go out into the business world with confidence will help you form those important relationships that will propel your business ahead. It’ll also give you the thick skin to handle rejection day after day and keep the goal of success in your sights.
- Professionalism – The degree of professionalism required will vary depending what market you’re in but its important to always be a professional. This is even more important when you’re a young entrepreneur. Trust and respect are hard gained in the business world. You’re the representative of your business and people will see you as such.
- Communication – I can’t stress enough how important this is! Maintain a clear channel of communication with customers, business partners, and employees. The break down of communication will be the end of any successful business so take this seriously.
- Teamwork – Some entrepreneurs consider themselves lone wolves and that’s fine. But I would highly suggest anyone looking into starting their own business finding a trusted partner to start it with. I didn’t start out with one but later brought one on and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. Your business will grow much faster with someone else in the wings to help you out. This might make things a little more complicated but I’d never go back to being by myself.
All of the things I mentioned above are earned through experience but are also solid areas of knowledge. Knowing how to do all of those things will be applicable at any job you apply for. A few more things you could put down after being an entrepreneur as knowledge would be.
- Financial Management
- Tax preparation
Those are just to name a few. These areas of knowledge won’t all be useful at any job. But if you’re interested in going into marketing or joining a sales force you could learn a lot! Having the experience and knowledge will be worth the time spent learning them.
One of the last and major hurdles I had and I imagine most entrepreneurs have is what about funding? We live in of the best times for entrepreneurs I believe. Anybody with a great idea can find a venture capitalist and pitch an idea. That doesn’t mean you’ll get the funds but it’s an option. Other options might be bootstrapping or getting a loan. I haven’t personally pitched anything to a vc yet but I’ll tell you what I’ve done.
I wanted to spend as little money as possible and get up and going as fast as I could. My company originally started out as Clearview Window Cleaning Service and most of my tools were second-hand from my father. I spent money on business cards and registering the business. No other expenditures were made. I never dreamed of starting a window cleaning business but the overhead is low and skills are completely acquired on the job. My venture into window cleaning has been awesome and I don’t regret a thing but I am hopefully it will continue to lead to bigger and better things.
Make a mistake, set a goal that seems impossible, and plan to learn some hard lessons. The sooner you get started the less resistance you’ll meet later.