I just recently turned the “Dirty 30,” which led me to contemplate a common question I get asked from college students after my speaking engagements: “How do I become a successful entrepreneur by the age of 30?” The answer I discovered is simple: Stop talking about it and do it. No excuses. No waiting. In fact, the sooner you start the better.
There are so many reasons why you should not wait until you are older or “more established” to start your entrepreneurial journey. The most important reason being that it is far less risky to start your business at an early age. As a young person, you generally have less responsibility and more energy than your older counterpoint.
For instance, you are far less likely to have a mortgage, family or relationships that demand most of your time, energy and money. (Even your health insurance can be covered by mom and dad until you turn 26.) You also have the rare opportunity to risk it all with not as many long-term consequences as older founders, because if you fail, you’ll have a world of experience and knowledge that your peers can’t touch. Plus, you have time on your hand to start over or pursue a career in the corporate world. If you fail on your first try, you have plenty of time to get back and hit a home run. Or if your business is a phenomenal success, you can leverage it into other profitable ventures. Just look at the late Steve Jobs. When he was ousted from Apple, he started Pixar, which was later bought out by Disney for more than $7 billion. And that was just the beginning for him.
I encourage all young entrepreneurs to follow their dreams, as there is no better time. Just think, when you come straight out of college, you have the motivation, fresh knowledge set and resources to make your ideas a reality. Take all the contacts and skills you gathered from school and channel them into a plan for your future.
As we get older, we forget the valuable things we learned in school and often get sucked into a career that we originally had no interest in. Many push the dream of owning their own business in the back of their head and find it very difficult to leave the comfort of their secure job in pursuit of something they are passionate about. By the time they decide to make their dreams a reality, there is far more pressure and a much higher likelihood of long-term consequences.
That said, young entrepreneurs can (and do) face consequences when deciding to go down the startup road. Debt may incur, added stress and the pressure to success are just a few things that could happen.
That said, I encourage all young people to channel their energy, adaptability and drive in to creating your own future. After all, it’s a hard time to get a job, so create your own.