When it comes down to it, there are hundreds of reasons why you should and shouldn't start a business at a young age - and if you're considering taking that leap yourself, you've probably heard most of them. I started my first business in April 2018. At the time, I was 25 and living in Bali. The business I started was an agency, very different to the one I run now, but without the lessons I learnt building it, my current business would be nowhere near as strong or developed. When I started, I had no idea what I was doing. But I knew I had the ability to problem solve. It was a skill I'd been developing for years, and I recognized that I was good at it. During my professional career working for a large Fortune 500 company, the skill of problem solving was honed and focused on - if you don't know how to do something, it was up to you to find a way. They drove this ability to think on your feet and valued those who were innovative with their solutions, which in turn, allowed me to recognize its value. This skill was the foundation for my first business, I knew that if all else failed, I could rely on my problem solving to find the answer.
However, the road wasn't always easy. Here are some of lessons I learnt when starting my own business at 25.
My age meant I was able to take risk and try new things without having too much responsibility - everything was a trial and I was able to just get on with it. Nothing was life or death, and being young meant that if it didn't work out, I could always go back to working in-house instead.
At 25, you don't feel like you know everything. You're still humble enough to learn and take advice from the right people, which when applied correctly, can be a make or break for your business.
As you've got experience in the workforce, you do have a skillset and a bit of business acumen - hopefully enough to know whether or not you want to start your own business. However, you're still enthralled by adult life in a way which is less common for those who are older
Being a millennial, you're very close to all of the tech and social media which you grew up in - and at no disadvantage because of your age. Ultimately, social media has only been around for X amount of time, and the likelihood is, you'll be more advanced in it than older clients, having grown up more closely with it and not having to unlearn old processes. With technology and social media, you're on an even playing field.
The reality is you are young, so your life experience is lacking and there are certain things you might not have learnt. One of the big ones here, is the how to actually run a business. I made a lot of mistakes early on, because I hadn't spent enough time in the working world learning to run a business. I made the mistake of believing that because I knew something I thought I knew everything - but that isn't the case at all. The reality of running my own business brought me right back down to earth, and I've definitely become more humble as my business has developed and I've been on this learning curve.
Often when you're young, older people will offer advice which you feel obliged to take simply because of their age. The reality is, they might not be more successful than you, and they may not be offering the right kind of advice. If you take too much advice from others, it's easy to become dependent and lose your gut instinct. It's always great to take guidance from those whose opinions your value and trust, but too much will become overwhelming and can often leave you with inaccurate information.
Not many people start businesses at a young age. This can leave you feeling isolated, particularly if you don't have a team for support and a work culture you enjoy. You may also start questioning whether you made the right decision to leave your more stable.
Personally, I can say that in many way I wish I'd have started my own business even earlier. However, the insight I gained from working within the structure of a big firm has played an invaluable role in developing my own business. I honed key skills and built an understanding of the work-life I wanted to lead. My goal for this business it to focus on the now and enjoy the wins. It's very easy to focus on what we haven't achieved, instead of on what we have. However, every small success is still a step in the right direction, and that's definitely something I want to reflect on at the time rather than years later. The more I learn, the more I realize how much there is to learn. Looking forward, I want to ensure that I enjoy the journey as much as I enjoy the destination, particularly as I realize now that ambitious people rarely reach a destination at all. There's always something you can be striving towards, or a new product you could be releasing, but understanding that each step is an invaluable part of the journey will allow you to enjoy it far more.