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Gone are the days when a successful businessperson meant that they are an industry veteran, perhaps a boomer with a commendable track record of launching, and succeeding at, multiple ventures. However, the current times are such that success has no age connotations and boilerplate strategies. Take Austin Russell, for example- a Stanford dropout who, at 25, went on to become the youngest self-made billionaire. Russell has, during his public talks, revealed his habit of constantly seeking out new skills, even from unconventional sources like Wikipedia and YouTube.
If anything, Russell is a digital native who is leveraging the technologies that are available in the world today to his advantage. Likewise, many aspiring young entrepreneurs are entering the fray, incentivized by the opportunities that this brave new world of digitalization offers. However, the road to entrepreneurial success for youngsters is anything but smooth. It can take its toll on your work-life balance and mental health, subsequently impacting the business outcomes. This is especially true if you have more than one venture to fret over- but the following tips can help you juggle them better. Here’s a primer:
1. Potential over pedigree In recent years, there have been many stories of giant companies offering lucrative packages to talents who are barely adults, often without a degree, and with a color-outside-the-line personality- indeed, the Harvard Business Review published a report last year making the case for the recruitment of unconventional talent. This shift has been a concomitant of increased digitalization, with technologies levelling the playing field between the young and the old. In fact, in creative verticals, digital natives -especially those born in the 90s- are increasingly edging out the competition, because of the digital dexterity that comes naturally to them. So, if you are a young entrepreneur, it could be advantageous to subscribe to the potential-over-pedigree approach.
2. Passion is key As the great Galileo Galilei once said, passion is the genesis of genius. Once entrepreneurs taste success, they tend to reach for more- a typical entrepreneurial trait. If they fail in the next venture, it is often because they lacked the passion for it, yet took it up solely based on business acumen. If you re-examine Austin Russell’s journey, you’ll find that he took on a particular liking for laser technology, nourishes it, and starts Luminar Technologies, which makes him the youngest self-made billionaire. It is the passion that convinces him to quit Stanford and fuel his entrepreneurial ambitions instead. All in all, regardless of how many ventures you have on hand, ensure that you are passionate about each one of them.
3. Build team spirit Team building is a much-valued corporate undertaking. Many leading companies have dedicated budgets and resources for it. When you’re a rookie who runs a tight ship, team building takes precedence. Under such circumstances, it is also important that you promote collaboration and adopt a distributed leadership model, giving the core team members a degree of autonomy and decision-making power. This often brings diverse ideas to the table and helps the company stay agile and resilient in the face of evolving business environment and customer expectations. This notion was well-substantiated in a recent study by a Polish university.
4. Less gimmick; more strategy There is a general consensus that we live in a post-truth age, where the lines between fact and fiction are blurry. Playing into this notion are increasing marketing attempts that are intended to stir the pot, get people talking, and sell. The indomitable influence of social media on our lives is also a contributing factor. Young entrepreneurs are especially prone to go after gimmicks. However, such attempts can fall flat just as fast as they blow up. Rather, it is advisable to deliver quantifiable value, be more strategic, forge meaningful customer relationships, and humanize your messaging. Consumers love a dash of quirk or deviation, but not the expense of getting deprived of real value.
5. Networking and constantly learning One common trait of successful young entrepreneurs is their ability to network. They are open to learning from whiz kids as well as industry veterans at every opportunity, be it at networking events, cafes, or just about anywhere. They can strike a meaningful conversation with anyone and come out of it with a fresh perspective. Oftentimes, they surround themselves with like-minded individuals who share their passion for a certain industry or niche. In fact, many studies have revealed that over 80% of positions are filled through networking. So, for an entrepreneur with multiple ventures, networking makes the job all the more simplified.