Advice for Young Entrepreneurs
I always knew I wanted to be a business owner. Luckily for me, I discovered what I was passionate about at a young age. I’m pretty sure I could have excelled in any industry because once I get into something, I consume myself in it. That’s just how I’m wired. Yet, what I didn’t realize is how much work goes into actually running a business. No joke. It’s real work! It’s not glamorous being an entrepreneur or small business owner. Sure, you can set your own hours and work when you want but if you’re not working, you’re not making money. It’s that simple! You can’t sit on your ass all day and watch Netflix or play video games and expect to become this hugely successful entrepreneur. You have to put in work!
The hard truth is that in the beginning you’ll put in more hours than most of your friends and make a lot less too. That’s my personal experience anyway, I started from square one without a dollar in my pocket. I had talent and skills but no concept of business. A business runs on more than skills and talent. Don’t forget that! That’s what I didn’t understand back in my early years. I expected the work to flow in because I was great at what I did but that’s not the case.
In those years, I knew nothing about building business relationships or marketing. I was so young-minded that I expected clients to seek me out because I was this “great” media production guy. I expected them to pay me what more experienced industry professionals were making. It never crossed my mind that those guys were able to pull those rates because they had tons of experience over me. I thought I was as good as those other guys (if not better), so I felt I deserved to get paid rates that took them years to build. Looking back, the truth is, I didn’t respect all the hard work those professionals put into building their brands and clientele. (I didn’t even know what branding was back then.) I was the poster boy of an entitled millennial. I was selfish, I wasn’t a team player, and I expected to become this massive overnight success. I was young, inexperienced, and I had a huge chip on my shoulder. In retrospect, no one around me had the skills I had, so it made me feel like I was unique. But business doesn’t give two flips about how talented or unique you are. Business is so much more than money and talent, it’s about building relationships. Don’t ever think your above it all because the world has a way of humbling you and bringing you back down to earth. I don’t care how much talent you have, no one wants to do business with the guy who only thinks about themselves. Business is a two way street!
Once I began to realize that my business wasn’t about me but all about my clients things began to change. Seriously, the faster you learn that your business is not about you and all about your clients; the faster you can move towards your dreams and goals. Don’t worry about being the biggest or baddest person in your industry — just do you. Work hard. Stay on top of what’s going on in your industry. Network with other professionals. Be a team player! Put your client before yourself and in time your business will grow — that’s just how things work. Always remember that running a business is hard work. Things aren’t always going to go your way all the time, so learn to roll with the punches and move forward.