I often get asked why I work such long hours at the age of 21, when I could be traveling, partying or just generally doing what most people my age do. It's a fair question as running a business at 21 isn't the most common thing in the world. However, I strongly believe there is no better time to launch a business. In this article I'll discuss some of the main benefits but also some of the downsides of being a young entrepreneur.
No Real Commitments
The entrepreneurial lifestyle is suited to younger people. Most entrepreneurs in their 20s have not taken on any major life responsibilities such as mortgages, children or marriage. The time it takes to create and establish a successful business means people with children and other responsibilities can struggle to manage it all. Having no real commitments means you're able to focus solely on your business.
The older you get and the more responsibilities you have, the harder it is to commit to something as massive as starting a business. The risk can be too much for some people. I'm by no means saying you can't do this, I'm just stating it's harder.
Let's take Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, for example. Mark was only 19 when he launched Facebook (thefacebook.com back then). He did it from his Harvard dorm room. No commitments (other than his University work), just all the time in the world to create what is now one of the biggest businesses in the world.
You can use Your Age to Your Advantage
Something I've learned over the years is that people are willing to help you. You just need to ask. And there's nothing wrong with asking for help. Being younger also gives you a distinct advantage when it comes to asking for help because people tend to be more open to helping younger people.
I've been able to get a lot of meetings with some big names by just playing to my age. In the business and entrepreneurial world, there's a lot of "giving back". Entrepreneurs who have "made it" love helping young entrepreneurs and so why not take advantage of that? Send some emails to business owners that you want to talk to. Tell them you're a young entrepreneur and ask if they'd be willing to meet and give you some feedback on your business idea! I guarantee you'll get some replies.
Time is on Your Side
This might be an obvious statement but it shouldn't be overlooked. Starting a business in your twenties gives you so much time to learn. You can fail and still have years and years to develop and adapt.
This also links back to having no commitments. If you do fail, it literally doesn't matter. As long as you learn from it.
One of the biggest things I've learnt recently is the importance of patience. Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia states "the single biggest reason businesses fail is because they lack patience". Being a young entrepreneur, you have the luxury of being able to be patient because you have such a long time to build a successful business.
It's Not All Glamorous
Starting your own business might sound great, especially when you're young but you have to be prepared for the downsides as well. The reality is, your social life will probably suffer. Whilst all of your friends will be partying and generally having a good time, you'll be working. You'll be skint and will probably have a lot of sleepless nights.
But if you're a true entrepreneur, you wouldn't have it any other way. I certainly wouldn't.