Today I would like to address teenage entrepreneurs because I believe they are the future and that they are at the right age to begin. The greatest asset they have is time, as such, they can afford to make a lot of mistakes and bounce back. I have these eight thoughts for you to bare in mind as a teenager and avoid making the mistakes.
#1. Feeling like you don’t matter
As a teenage entrepreneur a high feeling of inadequacy may exist within you. There is an African proverb that says: “If you still think you are too small to matter then you have not slept with a noisy mosquito in the room.” Always remember that the big names like Obama, Bill gates, Mark zuckerberg, Dangote & Mikalile were once young and they all probably felt like they mattered less but they pushed beyond those feelings.
#2. Studying The Right Content
See to it that you get the right knowledge. Do not just sit and learn from people who speak without experience. Learn entrepreneurship from people who have succeeded in entrepreneurship and not from those who have just read books on the subject. Even on social media, follow pages, groups or individuals that will offer the right & practical content.
#3. Life Is Not Aways Beautiful
Most of your friends are okay with you succeeding as long as you are not better than them. They are okay with you dating a pretty lady provided she is not prettier than theirs. It is not that they are bad, it’s just how most humans are wired. As such always know that life is not always beautiful. You need to know that even as an entrepreneur you will go through a lot of betrayal and unfair circumstances from people you trust and love but stay positive.
4. Breaking Rules
Do not worry about breaking rules. Some people do not succeed because of the fear of breaking rules. Note that I said rules and not Laws! If you break laws, you will be in trouble but breaking rules allows you to question why certain things are done a certain way and gives you the opportunity to invent better ways.
#5. Don’t Compare Yourself
It is an insult to compare yourself to another person because you are unique in every aspect. Do not think you will have the same breakthrough like Dumisani or any other young successful entrepreneur. Do your best in your own right, get inspiration from those doing great things but never compare yourself.
#6. Do Not Worry About Someone Stealing Your Idea
Ideas that could have become great have died even before being launched because the owners believed someone would steal them. Others have spent years developing ideas in secrecy out of the fear that someone might copy the idea, only to discover afterwards that the idea cannot work. Note that 99% of people are not interested in stealing or embarking on other people’s ideas. If you are too afraid to share your idea have the people you are working with sign Non-Disclosure Agreements before sharing the idea with them.
7. Don’t Let Age Bully You
It is sometimes a challenge to stand up against bullying when you are young. You will have others question yours dreams saying: “I had similar dreams when I was young like you but see my reality now.” They will make you question and rethink your dreams but don’t worry about them. Ask them questions like: “Uncle you are 49 years old and broke, what mistakes did you make?” “Aunty you are 56 years old and still have no house of your own, what lesson would you give me to avoid that?”
8. Team Up With Driven Youths
A lot of powerful organisations today like Facebook, Google, Microsoft and many others were founded by young people in school. I too founded & ran the first company with two other friends when I was still in school and our system to date is the most used School management system in Zambia. Hung out with outstanding and self driven youths who will build you even as you add value to their lives.
These are some of my thoughts for the teenage entrepreneurs.