Often, people think of running a business as something you do when you’re much older and have more experience. It doesn’t have to be that way! Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes and from all backgrounds. Most importantly, there’s no minimum age to be an entrepreneur.
If you’re a high school student, then you’re in the perfect place to start. You probably have more time now than you will when you move on to higher studies, so use it wisely. You may have even started to run a simple operation already – have you ever mowed your neighbour's grass for a couple of bucks? That's the spark of an entrepreneur in you!
Even if you haven't done anything like that before, it's never too late to start. Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why you might want to jump into the world of business!
OK, but… why?
Starting a business comes with plenty of benefits that will positively impact all areas of your life.
Firstly, universities will love you. It will skyrocket your acceptance rate once you need to start applying. Having that kind of experience on your application at a young age is a significant plus point. It shows that even with the masses of homework, studying, and exams, you still managed to run a side-hustle. You get to prove that you know how to manage your time effectively and that you're a dedicated and hard-working student. Now, what university wouldn't want a student like that?
Secondly, you’ll get some great experience. Let's say you want some hospitality or retail experience, and your CV is looking pretty empty. Well, not many people want to give someone a job with no experience, and you can't get experience without a job. It’s a catch-22… or is it?
Starting a business is a loophole to get around this: anything simple or small can still have a major impact on your CV. You’ll learn money-handling skills; you will have had customer interactions, and as a bonus, you can ask your customers to throw down some reviews.
Thirdly, it’s going to make you more comfortable socially. Things that come with the turf when you’re running a business like speaking to customers (the nice ones and then the difficult ones), convincing investors, or even just advertising your product or service to anyone you speak to is very helpful in improving social skills.
Usually, not many people feel comfortable talking about money (especially their own money), but you will have to go through those conversations as a business owner. Maybe your business partner or team isn't agreeing with you on something. Sitting down and working through it will give you experience you won’t get anywhere else. Of course, they’re tough conversations to have, but once you've gotten used to those, making new friends will feel natural.
OK, that all sounds great! How do I get started?
Problems to fix, desires to fulfil:
Everyone has a problem that needs a solution, or a desire fulfilled. You probably have a couple of each. But that's great for you; entrepreneurs are problem solvers, and they know what consumers want. So if you can find a way to create a business that fixes a specific problem or fulfils a gap in the market, then it's very likely that you’ll stand out from the rest. If you manage to find a way to do both, then you're all set and full speed ahead! Do your due diligence before setting your heart and mind on a product or service. Research, research, and research is the key; understand the market, look at pricing and costs, competitors, and funding sources. This way, you know you’ll be making the best choice.
Passion and interest:
These two words play a big hand in the future of your business. You need to choose something you're passionate about, good at, or well-informed about. We're sure that none of you are passionate about lawn-mowing. The money behind it might be a strong motivating factor. But that will only be enough for you to keep going for the short term; if you really want your business to last, you need to find something that you're passionate about. This way, when the nights start to get late, and things start to get hard; you will still keep going and putting in 100%.
Of course, if you’re after easy cash, doing odd jobs is fine – just don't focus on them as a long-term plan if they don’t interest you.
One of the great things about starting young is that you most likely live at home with someone to cover the bills. So even if your business does end up failing, your lifestyle isn't at risk. But getting funding can be a little bit tricky. You could create a business plan to pitch to potential investors, people like your teachers, parents, rich friends, or coach. Then there are always websites such as Kickstarter, where you can pitch your idea to the general public. The only difficulty is making your campaign stand out from the rest. If you're struggling, you always have the option to take up a part-time job. Now do keep in mind that this will probably take a while, but it's as good an option as any other.
If you can, we also recommend starting up a low-cost business that offers a service requiring little to no cash input, and only your mind, time, and perhaps a mode of transport – things like babysitting, cake decorating, or dog-walking. Save up and get going!
An entrepreneur is always trying to improve, learn something new, and constantly hone their skills. So if you want to be successful in the world of business, we recommend you do the same. Educate yourself on how the best of the best live their lives and the habits and practices that make them who they are. Read books and blogs, research articles, and study your favourite entrepreneurs. Remember, not everything will work for you, so it's important to experiment and see what gets you the results.
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