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Take Advantage of Your Age as a Young Entrepreneur

| July 27, 2013 | 8 Comments

young entrepreneur

You’re young and eager to jump into the business arena. You have a hot idea that you are certain is a can’t miss proposition. While there is no guarantee that you will actually succeed in business as an entrepreneur, your youth does provide a number of advantages. What you may lack in experience you can more than make up in enthusiasm and energy. If you are willing to put forth the effort, your youth may very well help you carry the day.

Social Network Savvy

Although many Baby Boomers are adapting social media as a necessity, as a young person, you probably view social media as a necessary part of your existence. You don’t have to learn how to use Facebook and YouTube – you were weaned on those tools. Social media has demonstrated repeatedly that the right content posted at the right time has the potential to “go viral,” that is, become widely circulated almost exclusively by electronic word-of-mouth. And because you understand and use social media so fluently, it is more likely that you will be able to use social media marketing accurately and effectively to promote your company’s products or services.

Decades ago, burgeoning entrepreneurs relied on word-of-mouth and social and family connections to make a big break.  This is no longer true; young entrepreneurs can make immediate, impactful, and lasting impressions on their target market and peers, using social media in a robust fashion.

Easier to Exceed Expectations

You may have heard the saying “under promise and over deliver.” As a young person, you may find it easier to live up to that saying as an entrepreneur, because many people have lower expectations of young people. By contrast, many older entrepreneurs present themselves as subject matter experts or seasoned professionals with decades of experience. They sell themselves as a significant aspect of their ventures, which creates significant expectations among observers. As a result, older entrepreneurs who meet with setbacks are often subject to criticism from outsiders who make statements like “she should have known better,” or “he took too many risks.”

The notion of branding and “being who you say you are” is incredibly important in business, then and now.  However, younger entrepreneurs start with a clean slate, having full control of how target markets and peers perceive them.  It’s a bit easier to exceed expectations as a young businessperson, most onlookers understanding the notion of a ‘learning curve,’ and experience facilitating better efficiency.

Less Competition

For every Steve Jobs or Bill Gates who strikes out as an entrepreneur, there are thousands, make that millions of students who opt for the tried and true route of seeking out jobs that already exist with established companies. There is nothing wrong with that, but there is much less competition for would-be youthful entrepreneurs. You can start out as a big fish in a small pond, and work your way up to being a big fish in a very large pond that you have had a major hand in creating.

Don’t misunderstand, plenty of ambition exists within today’s youth; however, use your youth to your advantage, seeking paid and non-paid internships.  Target superiors and those with interest in your area of interest; those with experience can greatly accelerate a younger person’s insight upon a particular topic via a simple conversation.

Fewer Economic Pressures

As a young person, you may live with your parents or in a college dormitory. If you are out on your own, you may share an apartment with roommates. Either way, your expenses are much lower than those of thirty-ish or forty something would-be entrepreneurs with a mortgages, spouses children and car payments. You have more latitude to take chances because you need less money to survive.

Many young people are also attracted to business models that do not require large amounts of capital. Building a killer app requires major tech savvy but not that much money. By contrast, many older entrepreneurs focus their efforts on brick-and-mortar endeavors that require significant capital funding up front.

In addition, younger entrepreneurs, without the demands of experienced workers, can use afforded time to learn more about their to-be industry or save more funds via a second job.  Some successful entrepreneurs have the ability to begin their own startups early, by pinching pennies in younger years, finally enabling the financial stimulus for their own startup, which does not depend on outside investors.

Pamela Ramos frequently consults with young entrepreneurs about their marketing needs. Her articles mainly appear on business and upstart blogs. Check out these Video testimonials for more ideas.

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Category: Entrepreneurship, Startup Advice

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  • Michael Luchies

    Nice article Pamela. I think that the less competition point is false due to the rise in entrepreneurship in general among Millennials. It depends on industry as well…What I would replace that with is the ability to get help from professionals and seasoned entrepreneurs along with playing the student card if in school. It is amazing what help you can get by just asking as a young entrepreneur.

  • Mike Darche

    Good points Pamela, but I’m not totally on board with “Easier to Exceed Expectations”. I think expectations for the younger generation are increasing alongside today’s boom in innovation and efficiency. It’s tough to compare older “experienced” entrepreneurs with younger ones because times have drastically changed and the problems we confront today can be a far cry from the struggles of the past. No matter your age, failing and learning from your mistakes is always part of the process. I think the learning curve can be a little steeper for young entrepreneurs, but in both cases it comes down to perseverance and passion.

    In my opinion, the biggest draw for young entrepreneurs is along the lines of #4 and the experience you gain from running your own show. When you are young, you have less responsibility and it may be easier for you to take on risk. The economic pressures are less severe, like you say. For example- if I have a family to support, it would be a much more challenging internal struggle to start a business than if I didn’t have this extra responsibility…Thanks for the post!

  • Tyson Hartnett

    Nice article. I would think there is more competition though, since the younger generation is learning how to start a business very easily, considering all the information on the internet, and lack of barriers to entry. 20 years ago if you wanted to start a business, it would take a lot longer. Now you just type in “how to start a business” into a search engine and thousands of results come up. Everything from how to write a business plan, to getting funding.
    I like the article and examples, though

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