Use Your Youth To Your Advantage
By Michael Simmons
You should wait until you're older and have more business and real-world experience
before starting a business. You should just focus on school for now. Nobody
will take you seriously at this age.
You'll hear all these reasons--and more--about why you shouldn't start a
business from your friends, your parents, your advisors and many others who
only have your best intentions at heart. But before you start believing what
you hear, take a moment to think to yourself, What would have happened if somebody
had told these arguments to and convinced:
• Bill Gates who left Harvard to start Microsoft
• Michael Dell who left the University of Texas to start Dell
• Milton Hershey who opened his first candy shop when he was 18
• Fred Smith who, while attending Yale, received a "C" on
his Fedex business plan and decided to start his business anyway
• Steve Jobs who left Reed University to start Apple
• William Hewlett and David Packard who started HP out of a garage after
graduating from Stanford
• Or the thousands of other young people who have started a business
and been successful
Imagine the potential that would have been stifled if these visionaries hadn't
started businesses when they were young! Imagine how our world would have been
different without an HP, a Dell, a Microsoft, a Fedex, a Hersheys or an Apple.
Young entrepreneurs are not anomalies. Below are six ways that youthful entrepreneurs
have the cards tipped in their favor:
1. It's easier to exceed expectations and harder to not meet them. The fact
that adults expect less from young people can be used to your advantage. It's
OK if you're not perfectly polished. It will take less effort to please clients
and make a name for yourself with the media.
2. There's little competition from other students. How many students do you
know who are entrepreneurs? There are definitely not many, which makes your
story more press-, scholarship-, competition-, client- and award-worthy. And
remember, accomplishments that are incredible in college become less impressive
as you get older.
3. There are resources that support youthful endeavors. There are many nonprofit
organizations and individuals that focus on or are more than willing to specifically
support entrepreneurial youth. First on this list is your school, which probably
has teachers who can assist you or who have contacts in the business community
that can further your goals.
4. You have an existing passive secondary stream of income. Students often
have income coming in from their parents. Enen if it's not consistent, then
it's at least something you know you can always fall back on. If you're venture
fails when you're young, you probably won't starve or lose your house in the
5. There's a synergy between your school and your business. The practical
knowledge you learn from running your business can help your academic work
and vice-versa. Some schools will allow you to earn academic credit from or
do an independent study of your business. You can also base class projects
on your business. That means, you might be able to create a marketing plan
or develop new sales strategies or markets for your business on your "school
6. Your creativity is probably at a high point. Young people have a fresh
perspective on the world. This perspective lends itself to seeing many opportunities
that haven't already been exploited. The founders of Microsoft, Yahoo, Dell
and FedEx all saw unique opportunities and capitalized on them when they were
Reprinted with permission from Entrepreneur.com.
Copyright © 2005. Copyright
2003 Entrepreneur.com. All Rights Reserved.
Michael Simmons is the author of the best-selling book, The Student Success
Manifesto: How to Create a Life of Passion, Purpose and Prosperity and an award-winning
entrepreneur. He is also one of America's top youth motivational speakers for
college campuses. Read his online journal at young entrepreneur journey or
click on the following link to download his free success ebook.