Starting Your Own Business: 10 Tips for Young Entrepreneurs

Does the thought of working for a behemoth corporation make your stomach churn? Does the idea of being shackled to a 9-to-5 workday make you cringe? You’re not alone. According to a survey by CreativeLive, a full 47 percent of currently employed millennials are not happy with their job and would love to get out of corporate America.

So, how do you break free? Starting your own business might be the ticket.

When it comes to striking out on your own, there is no time like the present. According to a study by Millennial Branding and oDesk, 72 percent of budding entrepreneurs want to quit their jobs and move into something more fulfilling. In fact, 61 percent plan to make the leap within the next two years. If you seek independence in your work, crave being your own boss, and are ready to put your passions to the test, here’s what you need to know.

How to get started: 10 steps to striking out on your own

In the beginning, you might have a lot of ideas but no concrete plans. Here are some tips for transforming those dreams into the reality of owning and running your own business.

  1. Create a solid business plan. A strong business plan addresses all the key issues that will lead your company through the first years. What is your purpose? Address the mission, values, customer base, direction, measurements of success, and even your competition. Where do you want to be in one year, five, ten? The business plan can form the bedrock for a blossoming idea.
  2. Build a massive network. Attend networking events, enlist family and friends to hand out your business cards, strike up conversations at the cafe, and do whatever else you can to connect with as many people as possible. Who knows? You might meet the person who will join your team and help kick your idea into high gear.
  3. Figure out logistics. What will you need to give your business a chance to succeed? If you need a physical location, make it one that gets plenty of traffic. If you need a website, hire a top-notch web developer. If you need to hire more people, figure out how to make it work financially. Logistics can make or break any great startup.
  4. Get educated. The more you know about your particular field or business, the better your chances of success. But not only should you know all there is to know about your area of expertise, you can also learn more about entrepreneurship. Many colleges and universities now offer courses in how to become your own boss.
  5. Start part-time. Not sure you can afford a full-time investment of both effort and money? Hey, we’ve all got bills to pay. Move into your own business slowly, by working on it part-time at first. Once you gain some traction — and some income — it’s time to ditch the day job and call your own shots.
  6. Be extremely outgoing. Getting your name out there is a must if you want people to learn more about you and your company. Kick any shyness to the curb and become a marketing dynamo. Talk up everyone, hand out information, and do whatever it takes to drum up interest in your business.
  7. Do it all by the book. Do you need a permit? A business license? Do you have to meet certain local guidelines for your particular venture? Make sure that you are within the law at all times — the last thing you want is to be shut down because you forgot to handle something simple at the beginning.
  8. Get support. Places like the Small Business Administration or the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization offer numerous resources that can help at every step of the way. Don’t hesitate to get in touch, get involved, and educate yourself.
  9. Get creative with funding. There is no doubt that starting your own business can be expensive. Besides the capital to get the business off the ground, what will you live on before the money starts to roll in? Places like AngelList and Kickstarter provide an opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to get financial backing for their ideas.
  10. Ignore the naysayers. You might have the greatest idea in the world, but there will always be someone waiting to bring you down. They’ll say that you’re too young, too old, not smart or savvy enough, doing something that’s too expensive — or worse. It can make you want to put the brakes on your venture before you even get the motor running. Ignore tham from the start, blaze your own path, and you will be much happier.

Other things to know about starting a business

It is important to remember that failure is a matter of course when starting a new business. In fact, nine out of every ten business ventures fail within the first five years. The key to becoming a success is being ready and able to roll with the punches and create something new out of what doesn’t work.

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During those early months and years, when the bank account is lean and the hours seem to never end, don’t start comparing your career path to more conventional ones. Rather than lament the fact that you lack vacation time or other benefits, relish the idea that you’re working for yourself, that you’re living out your own unique dream, and that eventually, you might reap the rewards of all this hard work.

When you face doubts about your path (and you will!), remember this: A 2014 poll by the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index found that more than 80 percent of those who own a small business say that if given the chance to do it all again, they would still decide to be their own boss. It’s a tough job, but the rewards are fantastic.

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Comments: 1

  • Well presented.
    Many youngsters are blind to competition. Every idea they get, they tend to think it is creative and original. But somebodyelse in the world might have already invested a lot and about to announce too. It calls for lot of research and networking. Otherwise, by the time the starter announces to the world, he may be already behind in time/ technology/ concepts etc., The 10th point is tricky. If the naysayer is already experienced in the field, then it is big mistake to ignore it. Why do we do formal project evaluation or business plan with inputs from many sectors? To assure ourselves that we are doing something feasible. If naysayer says it is too expensive, then you must be able to convince yourself about how much and ways to meet it, that will trigger points 5 and 9. In my experience, yaysayers boost your ego and creativity and naysayers hurt your ego but make you controlled and confident. It depends on your ability to extract worthy info from what both of them say.

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