At the end of 2014, driven by a great desire to make the world a better place and a great ambition to mark my name in history, I started a project called Mankind.blue with my partner Marc de Miguel. It consisted of a platform which would organize all NGO into topics to give an equal visibility to each and, also, we wanted to build a social network of volunteers where organizations could create events.
Undertaking such a project while attending education, as Secondary school was for me at that time, is a great didactic experience since you get in touch with the real world, in the end, it’s another parallel form of education, an extra-curricular one. In my case, I learned how to create a website using WordPress, how to buy a domain name and a hosting, the principles of web design, how to communicate an idea to others and, especially, how to work in a team.
Next, I’ll write down five tips I’d give to my 14-year-old self and, therefore, I give to every teen who is willing to start an entrepreneurial project:
- Don’t think big, yet.
Think small, think locally. Many of you, while reading the first paragraph, have already noticed the immaturity of my teenage-self; we were moved by a strong desire to improve the world but, when this being a project that was beyond our capabilities, after a year of work, we had not managed to contribute anything good, we didn’t get anywhere. Now, I would have prefered to have worked to make tangible actions at a school or local level, for example, seek for new ways to collect funds to build a well in Africa through existing organizations; in this way, we would have really contributed to creating a better world from what we had at hand.
If you’d like to work on a lucrative project, I’d recommend you build an e-commerce store or to seek new ways of selling stuff online. Remember you must never bite off more than you can chew ; it’s important to find first steps that can be achieved, only then you will start to walk.
- Choose your team wisely
Your BFF is not the best option and neither is that person with whom you seem to be soulmates; seek for someone who complements your vision and capabilities.The relationship with this person must be sufficiently professional to be able to break in case it supposes a load for the project.
Marc de Miguel and I, for example, form the classic couple of the dreamer, who is more communicative and ambitious when it comes to ideas, and the maker, who is responsible for materializing the ideas and who knows how to keep the feet on the ground. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak also respond to this archetype. I’d invite you to seek this partner through this simple scheme, but other combinations could also work.
- Spend the little amount of money possible
As short as simple. We bought the domain name and hosting way before we had finished the website, which ended up costing us around 90 euros of our own savings. Be patient: even if you’re convinced now, it’s possible you’re not going to need it in the future.
- Seek professional help
It wasn’t till the next project that we entered the “Audi Creativity Challenge” program and the diference, regarding the learning, was huge. Applying to accelerators for young people means being surrounded by professionals in the sector who have many things to teach you and, also, increases the small likelihood that your product reaches somewhere. Among other concepts, they will take into account the project’s scalability, set long-term goals with a progressive difficulty that can be achieved by team members as their competences evolve. Some of them require a very good idea to access it but others have the ideation process within the program and the selection focuses on the individual.
Additionally, talk to people around you and thoroughly understand the needs you’ll want to solve with your project. Absorb knowledge from others’ experience, learning from their mistakes is a great didactic experience that can save you a lot of time; remember that there will almost always be someone who has tried or managed to carry out the project you have at hand. Everyone knows lessons that you have left to learn, look for them.
Most likely, you won’t earn millions in this first adventure nor appear on all the media, therefore, neither produce a big impact nor mark your name in history must be your goals, at least yet. You cannot be disappointed, and I speak for my own experience, if your project does not arrive where you‘d’ have liked; value the path, all you have learned and who you have become. The learning has to be the main aim of every entrepreneurial project, especially in this initial stage.
The most important thing is to find first steps that can be achieved, only then you will start to walk.
Everyone knows lessons that you have left to learn, look for them.
The learning has to be the main aim of every entrepreneurial project, especially in this initial stage.
Now that you know, look for what you can contribute, recruit your own team and start your entrepreneurial project! Go ahead!