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When I started as an entrepreneur in my late teens, early 20’s, I learned some valuable lessons along the way. I definitely made some mistakes as I moved along, which can certainly be attributed to being very young and unexperienced. Here are some the mistakes I made and perhaps it can benefit you if you are starting a business or ever thought of doing so:
Lack of patience
Success does not happen overnight. It takes time for something tangible and stable to be established. As a young entrepreneur with all the enthusiasm in the world, I wanted it all and right away. Blame it on sheer lack of experience. As I got older, I learned to be more patient and focus on building a solid foundation that can hold up for the long haul. So, if you are starting out, your enthusiasm is a great tool, just remember that what you are trying to build can be a lifetime commitment, so don’t expect incredible results right away.
Being too trusting
The world of business can be quite a cutthroat world. If you are not careful, you can be taken advantage of at every turn. Starting out very young in such a world can be overwhelming. You are not ready to understand that some people are just out to get you. You end up trusting the wrong people, and this can cost you your entire company. My advice is to be very careful when dealing with other parties, especially when it’s about your money. Take everything being said with a grain of salt and don’t judge business people by their words, judge them by their actions.
Taking setbacks personally
When you start a business at a very young age, you are bound to make mistakes. As well, people will also not take you as seriously as an older, seasoned entrepreneur. This comes with the territory, and shouldn’t be taken as a shot against you personally. Besides, the younger you are, the more room you have to make mistakes. You still have plenty of time to get back on your feet and learn from those mistakes. Having been around the block many times now after all these years, I have learned that as much as I am intertwined with my business, I am still a separate entity and therefore, there are certain things that shouldn’t be taken too much to heart. Bottom line, learn from your mistakes without letting them destroy you.
Spending too much
This is a mistake I encounter frequently with young entrepreneurs. It is linked with the lack of patience I mentioned above. Their enthusiasm grows into arrogance, and thinking that money will just come pouring in, they take liberties to spend more than they actually should. This can cause serious damage to any new business. You have to be careful with every single penny, and be certain that you only spend on what is absolutely necessary. Many people turn to becoming an entrepreneur for the lifestyle, but the easy, comfortable lifestyle only comes after certain sacrifices are made at the beginning. Be smarter with your money now, and enjoy the benefits of it in the future.
Thinking you know it all
When I was younger, it was more difficult for me to admit that I did not know everything I needed to know. When you are starting out, especially at a young age, you can quickly become very cocky, in particular if you experience moderate success. Be open to different concepts, ideas, and never shut the door to continuing to educate yourself. There is always more to learn, and accepting that fact will make your life a lot easier as you are establishing your business. Even as you get older, wiser, and more experienced, you still will never know it all! I am always learning and in business, it is crucial, as flexibility and open-mindedness leads to longevity. Understand that life is a journey of never ending learning, and you will not allow yourself to make mistakes by thinking that you already know it all.
Another important point I would like to mention in closing is to always have a plan B, C, and D. I never had that problem, as I always made sure to plan for different directions. But I see it very often with people starting a new venture where they do not plan for a different strategy in case the initial one doesn’t come through. When you start a business, it’s like a chess game. The more you can think ahead 2-3 plays, the more successful you will end up 😉