Being an entrepreneur early in life is extremely difficult. Constantly being undermined and second guessed by both your peers and elders is a very demeaning experience. I have found myself down and out for the count based on constant negativity towards my endeavors. In the entrepreneurial game, however, negativity is guaranteed whether or not you are young. Based on my experience as a young entrepreneur I have found a few key things to being successful and having fun along the way.
- Develop a plan: I know you all have heard this 1,000 times already. I just cannot stress the importance of having an executable plan that you can guide (but not control) your life. With a plan, you will have the framework to base your work. The majority of criticism comes from the lack of a proper plan. For this reason, beat the criticism with not only your end goal but also a plan to get there including your current position, the steps it will take for you to reach the next rung on the ladder, and all your action steps leading up to your ultimate end goal. Having an executable plan of action will help you build confidence in yourself and will allow your to grow your business to great heights.
- Have a mentor: From early in my entrepreneurial career, I sought out and worked with a reputable mentor that had inspired me from an early age. My mentor, a serial entrepreneur himself, has not only helped in guiding me through the numerous roadblocks associated with entrepreneurship, he has also helped me in building my professional persona as well as my credibility in the entrepreneurial field. My recommendation –> find a mentor that you can trust and work with on a weekly basis. With their help and your dedication, you will have no problem building yourself as a credible entrepreneur.
- Don’t let “failure” get you down: The entrepreneurial game is one of constant trying, falling down, and then picking yourself back up again to repeat the process over and over again until success is finally achieved. Many times entrepreneurs, myself included, will feel disheartened, discourage, or even demoralized because we do not instantaneously achieve success. A true entrepreneur, however, is defined as someone who can fail and get right back up after learning from their mistakes to improve their process and push forward through it all to achieve success. As Henry Ford puts it, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”
- Believe in yourself: Entrepreneurs are well known for being extremely tenacious and determined. This tenacity and determination derives itself from the founders belief in themselves. Rather than relying on external acceptance, truly great entrepreneurs rely solely on their inner acceptance to provide gratification and satisfaction. Be sure to take time early in your career to find who you are as an entrepreneur and what your true values, beliefs, and mottos are. With your beliefs, values and philosophies under your belt you will have the unparalleled knowledge to fully believe in yourself even when others don’t believe in you.
With these simply recommendations, you will have the opportunity to gain credibility and rapport with your peers and employees. Be sure, however, to never doubt yourself and believe in your gut first and foremost. Failure is simply a figment of your imagination until you allow it to control your thoughts and actions.