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5 Things to Do Before Turning 30

| January 8, 2014 | 7 Comments

take chances

What you do in your late teens and 20’s really defines the type of person you are and who you will become.  Where you go, the people you meet, what you learn…it all sets the stage for the rest of your life.  What you have to ask yourself is how big of a stage do you want to be on.

I’m a 21-year-old college drop out that decided my life is too complex and spontaneous to determine what field I want to go into or what major I want to try. There were three things I did know:

1.) I wanted to have fun,

2.) I wanted to do what I want, and finally

3.) I wanted to live a life people would be envious of.

So far…I’m doing just that, and I have to say, I’m loving it.  Many people ask how…how do I figure out what I want to do, how can I travel to these places, how can I get away with not working for someone…

And the simplest answer I have is, don’t think about it.

Put all your doubts and fears aside, close your eyes, count to three and say, “Fuck it!” Then go out there, do it, and get yours.

I don’t know everything, and I don’t claim to, if there is something I need to know, I figure it out, sometimes the hard way, but I still figure it out. People have this notion in their heads that entrepreneurs are these really smart people that know all the answers and make good decisions, but that isn’t necessarily true.

Sure, you have to have some smarts and know quite a bit, but we surround ourselves with mentors and friends that think like we do and whom all have had different experiences but at the same time very similar, and very quickly we realize that a lot of what we do is trial and error, and you have to hope that you can push through the errors.

So what’s the big secret?  Entrepreneurs are the biggest procrastinators in the world. That’s it, not much to it is there… Now before some people get raving mad at me, I say that because if you think about it, we do everything we possibly can so that way we don’t have to work for someone else and so we can do what we want with our lives.  That includes what someone said a little while ago (I don’t remember who or when, but they said it) about how an entrepreneur is the only person who is willing to work 80 hours a week to keep from having to work 40.

I have come up with some things you need to do and determine before you turn 30 that will help you get to where you want to be in life:

take_chances_2

1.)  Figure out what keeps your heart beating

And for you medical people, no I’m not being literal. What is it that you do that makes you happy? If you get excited over derivatives and anti-derivatives and somehow understand how calculus was created to make algebra easier, then (go you) you should be a mathematician. For me, I like woodworking, and was raised in construction so its no wonder that I now build houses, but doing that gives me the freedom to still sit at the coffee shop and write this article in the middle of the “work week” and travel and have the fun that keeps me going. But I also have fun creating different things, whether it’s a product, a house, a bar, a website, or a work of art, all of it gives me that fuzzy little feeling inside when it’s done.

2.) Determine if you are willing to be broke

When you do what you want, and take a risk of any sort there are no guarantees, so you have to determine, are you willing to be dirt poor in order to do what you want in life and take the chance to get exactly what you want and earn however much you want, if not, if you are unwilling to take that risk, then it may be that you shouldn’t try to be an entrepreneur.  It is scary but you will almost certainly lose money, the question is, will the money you lost bring more money in? A friend of mine was talking to me about his business idea and how he wanted his website to be. Now he doesn’t have much money to start a business and when I told him how much it would cost for him to do what he wanted, he was shocked, but he had the determination. He spent everything he had to make his website the way he wanted it to be and to get his company going. Now his clients hire him for $100/hr to fix or wire any electronics they need him to in their airplanes, yachts or small boats. He is also looking to expand his company.

3.) Travel

This is a must, you don’t even have to answer the first two questions, those can take some time to figure out, but traveling is imperative. Traveling, as anyone can tell you, broadens your horizons, allows you to see other cultures and other peoples’ point of view, and lets you incorporate any life lessons and culture you’ve picked up into your life and business.  In fact you can check out my article on Quebec here. I used to own part of an inflatable rental franchise and when the owners of the corporate company went to China to see manufacturers they also got to experience the Chinese culture, which allowed them to tap into the Asian-American market of Chinese New Year bounce houses and other inflatables, giving them more customers and ultimately more profit.

4.) Write down all of your ideas

Another must do…and this doesn’t only apply to when you’re in your 20’s, writing down your ideas in a little book is a good thing to do at any stage in life.  This allows you to not only remember that million-dollar idea, but lets you expound on it, make modifications and perhaps grow it to fruition.  My father told me when I was younger to do this after always forgetting a dream I had or an idea I was thinking of while in school and followed that up by telling me, “For every 100 ideas I write down, there is at least one good one.” And I can honestly say it’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received and has allowed my to start two ventures of my own thus far.

5.) Let people call you crazy

Like most of the people in this strange world we live in, I’m trying to figure out what to do, an no one really knows what they want 10-20 years from now, but you know your goals and so you set out to achieve them until those goals are completed or you change your mind.  Many times I have been told to buckle down, do one thing, and stick with it…but the people who tell me this will be working for other people their entire lives, which there isn’t anything wrong with, but it’s just not me.  So what do I do…at any point in time, I have 4-5 (maybe more) projects that I’m working on to diversify my portfolio which is the key to making a substantial amount of money (if they are done right, you can’t expect to do something half-assed and make money with it) Plus, anyone in the construction business will tell you it’s sink or swim, Sometimes you have a ton of money coming in and other times you struggle to get an appointment. So what am I working on right now:

*Currently building three houses as well as doing work on four other houses

*Developing a construction app, and gearing up to roll out a product on our website

*Developing two other websites, one dealing with gourmet food and the other with travel

*And finally the last and most immense thing I am working on is lining up investors and doing all the legwork for a real estate deal in Nicaragua. (This is a multi-million dollar deal, and will take years to come to fruition, but I’ll tell you more about it in another article.)

So people see me working on all of this, (not to mention these articles) and they think I’m wishy-washy and I don’t know what I want to do and/or they call me crazy. But I don’t see it that way, when I put these things on my drawing board, I put them there so I can go over them tediously and decide if I want to move forward with the project, then IF I decide it’s worth it, I will put the gears in motion and start delegating what needs to be done to accomplish the ultimate goal. People can call you crazy all they want, but most of them just wish they had the guts to risk everything and do what you are doing to have that extraordinary payout. And you may not get that payout at first, but you have to keep going; keep trying and you will get the reward.

So go out there people!

TRAVEL! HAVE FUN! WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN! FIGURE OUT WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY AND COMPLETELY DISREGARD WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING TO HELP YOU DETERMINE THIS! AND FINALLY, LET PEOPLE THINK YOU ARE INSANE!

Ultimately, you will be better off for it!

Brandon Jolicoeur is a young business professional from the New Orleans area. As a native of New Orleans, he prides himself on being a food connoisseur and a travel and adrenaline junkie always staying true to his family’s motto, “Be Adventurous, Live Life!”

Image Credits: indulgy.com and http://adogwithfleas.files.wordpress.com/

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  • http://brode.co/ Marc Brodeur

    You said it in your second sentence: “The people you meet…” I’m a few years older than you, and that was the lesson that took me the longest to learn. Who you spend time with is maybe the most important influence on your life, and you do have to make an effort to do awesome stuff with awesome people, else you get stagnant.

    Also, I recommend Reid Hoffman’s book “The Startup of You” if anyone wants to get started from the sidelines.

  • Jamie

    You’re the exception….not the rule. I know more college drop outs who are broken, than I do who are successful entrepreneurs.

  • Peter

    Brandon,

    Great post. Impressive mindset especially for someone your age. Being a law school dropout I can relate to what you are saying. Also, I applaud your aptitude at 21 to break the confines of what was likely a relatively predetermined path and set out to shape the life that you want. I am only 27 so I hardly have a wealth of knowledge or experience over you – however, just like you have provided me a unique (and helpful) perspective on life, I too wanted to share something that I have learned that might help you (if you haven’t already figured this out for yourself – though it seems like maybe you have). My one piece of advice, in return for your great post is to tweak “3.) I wanted to live a life people would be envious of.” It could simply be a figure of speech or word choice you used but just in case it’s not I would replace “people” with “I” – “I wanted to live a life I would be envious of.”

    When I was in law school I was living a life that most people would have been envious of, I was literally told that daily, it’s part of the reason that I went to law school in the first place – yet I hated every second of it. Happiness is subjective, yet we always look at it through an objective lens – generalizing it and setting guidelines for why and when we should be happy. We have essentially made it artificial and superficial. One of the most debilitating things to happiness, at least for me, is a “grass is always greener” mentality – put another way, being a perfectionist. But the only way that can exist is to compare what you have, where you are, and what is going on in your life, to something or someone else – essentially focusing on trying to create a life that other people would be envious of. This mindset cripples mindfulness and in my opinion paralyzes true happiness (I also think it contributes to the procrastination that you accurately point out that most entrepreneurs endure). We always think about what other people are thinking or doing or how they will evaluate us and this creates the path of the life that we generally don’t want to live and unfortunately the path we usually head down. We live in an odd society where most people value the lives of high profiled celebrities and athletes more than that of humanitarians, philanthropists, scientists, etc. and unfortunately this clouds judgments.

    The reason I bring all this up is because I have an identical twin brother that is an Army Ranger deployed in Afghanistan right now. I personally can think of no greater sacrifice in a person’s life and I hold him as well as all other servicemen and woman in the highest regard because of that. I am not in the military and will never be, more importantly I have realized that I will never achieve that level of accomplishment in my life (personally). My point could end here to simply say that if I were to compare my live to that of my brother I would never be happy/satisfied/content – you fill in the blank. Yet, the irony of it all is when I talk to my twin and he is worried about the mundane in life over here – how people are getting married, getting promotions, living “the american dream” – while he is falling behind. In my eyes he is literally making the biggest sacrifice in life but in his there are glimpses of hesitation. So I will end with two quotes 1). “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don’t have that problem.” ? Ronald Reagan. I use that quote and the above military example to illustrate that most people go through life wondering if they made a difference – even those that shouldn’t (i.e. people in the military (in this example)) – point being, it is debilitating. The final thought I’ll end on is wherever you go, there you are. You can’t outrun comparing your life to other’s, you can only tackle it head on.

  • Brandon Jolicoeur

    It was just a figure of speech, but I agree with everything you said, I too have a brother that is in the military and I actually tried to join but they turned me down, so I will never know what it’s like to serve my country….although I have come to accept that there are multiple types of service that one can do for his country, and creating jobs, helping people and being a great ambassador for your country while travelling are just a few. So I try not to compare my life to others anymore, I just try to live life on my own terms.

  • Peter

    Based off the rest of your post, your response doesn’t surprise me – I figured that it was something you were already aware of (or would undoubtably discover for yourself – sooner rather than later). I know at 21 that mentality always plagued me so it is something I am hypersensitive to. Regardless, I really enjoyed your post – definitely keep writing.

  • http://www.callboxinc.com.au/ Maegan Anderson

    Hi. One quote I remember while reading this great article
    that I just want to read over and over again, but obviously nothing will work
    if I just end up reading. “Life is not a series of chances; it is a series of
    choices”. It is our choice to take the
    chance, at the end of the line, we are still the captain of our ship and we are
    not a true captain if we just let our ship stay on the port. :)