Last August, I was extremely fortunate to get the chance to learn how to properly start my own business through a local class–complete with brainstorming, creating a business plan, pitching, and receiving financing. Yes, not only did I learn how to start the business, I received $1,275 to do so, “Shark Tank” style.
The class was called the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, run by our local Chamber. It’s definitely a program worth talking to your local Chamber about.
Anyhow, both through the class and through practical life experiences since, I now have a full resume, am busier than ever, and have created my own income. Plus, through my business, I have the opportunity to meet people and experience things I wouldn’t have otherwise. That networking alone is very crucial for post-school life as I begin to look for employment, or even pursue freelance.
With summer approaching, this is the perfect time for teens or even kids to start their own business! (Check out this girl’s lemonade business on Shark Tank!)
So, kids, teens, and future entrepreneurs–here are the top 10 reasons why you should start your own business!
1. It will teach you valuable life lessons.
There’s no better teacher than plain old experience. Responsibility, perseverance, hard work, honesty, integrity, time-management, leadership, and communication are all fantastic life lessons; to run a business successfully, you need them all.
It’s not easy, and sometimes not fun. Staying up until midnight to prepare for a craft show, and then waking up at 5AM to get ready can be exhausting. Breaking off a bad business deal with a nice person isn’t fun. Finding the perfect balance between friend/boss with employees is hard. Taking responsibility when something goes wrong, or dealing with a difficult customer is definitely not fun.
But, “A smooth ship never made a skilled sailor.” The only way to succeed in anything is getting past the nitty-gritty, where most people fail. Perseverance and learning from your mistakes is key!
2. You will learn time management.
Lori Greiner from Shark Tank said, “Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.” I have found this to be very true. Time management has been a struggle for me. I work best when I have someone on my tail constantly checking in on me but with being my own boss, I don’t have that, unfortunately.
I have a daily checklist from sticky notes that I use to keep track of my schedule, and the Reminders app on my phone to keep track of larger tasks.
I’ve often heard that although inspiration will get you started, you need habits to continue working. With dedicated time management, I have figured out how to make use of the time I have. While cutting fabric, I will watch my Biology DVD, The 101 Series. While sewing, I will listen to audiobooks (either school or leisure reading), Hebrew music, or general Hebrew podcasts. (Hebrew is my foreign language of choice.)
Fortunately, having my two sisters work has really helped me keep up with things.
3. You set your own schedule and do what you love.
I have The Parsi Company, blog, plus do freelance design and web development. Technically I work, but I have so much fun doing it, it doesn’t fully feel like work. I love being able to sew, and picking out fabric is always super fun. I love doing graphic design and web development, plus I’m trying to build a portfolio and customer base. I adore blogging. It still amazes me people actually WANT to hear what I have to say about things. And, I can do all this from my cozy little room.
If I ever pick up a part-time job at a retail store, the library, or anywhere, I can easily blog, do graphic design, or work on my business in my free time. This is a HUGE perk to being your own boss, especially when you master #2 on this list!
Sure, having your own business has its ups and downs, but I definitely wouldn’t trade them for anything.
4. You will be forced to learn communication and overall presentation.
No good business can succeed without clear and honest communication. Plus, how you carry yourself – how you talk, walk, and dress – is everything. Whether or not it is right, my mom has always told me, “People judge you by how you dress and carry yourself.” Showing up to a job interview in sweat pants makes you look bad.
Publicly posting inappropriate pictures, bad-mouthing your parents or employers, or constantly being negative or foul-mouthed can really hurt your image. Recently, a Texas teen made national news for posting “Eww I have this (expletive) job tomorrow!” Her future boss tweeted her back, “And…no you don’t start that FA job today! I just fired you! Good luck with your no money, no job life!”
I’m a teen, I get it. You get frustrated with your parents. Your current boss may drive you crazy. But, you must learn to get a journal, vent to a close friend, and move on. Social media, even Snapchats, can never be fully erased. With entrepreneurship, this is true more than anything. You represent your brand on social media. Social media can really make or break you. Clorox was recently in hot water for a tweet some were calling racist (an example of a VERY poor social media choice).
5. You’ll make excellent connections.
I’ve always been told it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. While I have found school is important for knowledge, networking is specifically important for future employment opportunities. I have made excellent connections in the blogging world, plus have had the chance to meet many local businessmen and potential employers.
6. You earn your own money.
Well, you have to do it sometime. Why not slowly slide into it by starting early? I love earning my own money, and spending it without feeling guilty my parents just gave it to me! (I’m not that kind of person.) Also, now as college and cars are in my future, starting my own business is helping that future. It’s also good for the economy.
7. You will learn how to manage finances.
Profit, loss, cost of goods sold, gross profit, net profit. All important business terms, and things notable in the “real life world” as well as the business world!
8. It looks good on a portfolio + makes you stand out.
Let’s face it, starting your own business is cool. I’m homeschooled, and everyone expects me to be in the corner, afraid of the human world. In reality, I’m probably the most outgoing, and the first to introduce myself, in introductions. Among all of the “I’m in band/choir/color guard/sports” I can proudly say, “I have started my own business!” People take note of little things like that.
9. Teen entrepreneurs can/will rock the world.
This generation is the future. Teens are generally known to be fearless. Although this can of course lead to negative bad habits, it can also be a huge positive in the risk of entrepreneurship, especially when start-up costs are involved. Teen entrepreneurs are awesome. Some popular examples are:
- Bethany Mota, a homeschooler who started by simply uploading fun videos. It’s six years later, and she now has 4.5+ million Instagram followers, her own clothing line, and has been named one of the most influential teens of 2014 by Time Magazine.
- Origami Owl, a direct sales jewelry charm company, was started by a 14-year-old who was saving for a car. It now has 60,000+ direct sales consultants and is worth over $250 million.
- 15-year-old Noa Mintz is making six-figures a year with her babysitting business.
- In 1965, Fred De Luca was just 17 years old when he opened a restaurant with a $1000 loan, because he wanted to use it to pay for college. That restaurant? Subway – a company now grossing over $9 billion a year.
- Matt Wullenweg, at 19, created WordPress, the most notable blogger platform out there.
- Mark Zuckerberg was only a college student when he created Facebook, the most popular social media site. Facebook currently has over 400 million users.
- Fraser Doherty began making jams at 14 years old, and left school at 16 to work at his company, SuperJam. SuperJam sells around 500,000 jars a year, and is about 10% of the UK’s jam market.
Also check out these teens making millions. And this college student who spent his extra free time creating design products, and now has made over $50K – just from his free time. I’m nowhere near making millions, but it does show the endless possibilities out there.
10. It’s fun.
Financial guru Dave Ramsey says, “Live like no one else so one day you can LIVE like no one else!” I’m always sewing or on the computer. I’d much rather forgo the little things like shopping every weekend, and focus on the bigger goals – like world travel in the future and truly getting to experience life’s full potential. Although the work can be exhausting, it is completely worth it. And I wouldn’t change it for anything else.
While doing some research for this post, I found out about 40% of teens want to start their own business and only 3% actually are running their own business. Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve got an interest, why not start now? Who knows, even something you may want to do temporarily could turn into a multi-million dollar business!
Some good books to get you started:
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch was recommended to me by a retired AP English teacher. The book, although short, was incredible and packed with humor, truth and life lessons. Pausch was a computer professor who is known for his Last Lecture that went viral on YouTube. His Last Lecture was given right after finding out he had pancreatic cancer and only had months to live. Instead of focusing on death, he writes about his life experiences and what he learned from the process. All I can say is teens: READ IT!
Invent It, Sell it, Bank it! by Lori Greiner is written by a “shark” from the ABC show Shark Tank. Although I haven’t read it yet, this one looks awesome! The other sharks have also written books. Hey, they must be doing something right.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is a wide bestseller everyone loves. I have to admit I haven’t read it yet though. However, it seems like a good read.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is another one on my to-read list, but I’ve read many good things about it. It’s not necessarily an entrepreneur book, however it deals with a very important issue: dealing with people.
*Note: Affiliate links have been used for the books mentioned.