As a young entrepreneur, I am constantly underestimated. When people look at my age or appearance, consider the fact that I’m not even old enough to graduate college, or when I say I have a 7-figure business (seriously, Google is free!) Feel a little lucky honestly. I am reminded that, because I am so young, I have a lot to grow, learn, and develop even more entrepreneurial skills that will enable me to make a difference.
That said, I’ve learned a lot since starting my business. These lessons have certainly been a bit unconventional, and may sound a bit cliché, but I believe it’s important to go back to the basics sometimes. Whether you’re considering starting a side hustle, or you’ve been working on your craft for years, these three lessons I learned quickly will be a game changer.
1. Invest in your education
Knowledge is power, and the best way to empower yourself is to discover education in all its forms. When you think about what education means to you, try to step outside the norm of high school-to-college pipeline thinking, and instead get creative with all the options available to you. Don’t bind yourself to a narrow box of learning – find the lessons and tools you need, invest in getting them, and watch your business flourish as a result.
This will require a little soul-searching. Consider the ways you have found that you learn best. If you know that you thrive or manage work well in a classroom environment, a local college program or a structured online course may be for you. If you prefer to sit down with someone and learn from their experiences, find yourself a mentor in your industry who is willing to give some of their time and expertise. If you find that even a little of the two appeals to you, a coaching program that teaches you skills while maintaining the flexibility to learn at your own pace may be the right fit.
“I believe that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from non-successful people is pure persistence.” – Steve Jobs
2. Choose Your First Hire Carefully
The first person I hired was a salesperson. It may seem like an arbitrary choice, but I quickly learned that if I didn’t have someone dedicated to selling my brand and my product, I would never have achieved that level of success and financial independence. What I knew I could do. I carefully considered what type of person would be the best asset for my goals and dreams, and then set about making that situation and person a reality. It took a lot of trial and error to get the right person onboard, but once they were… man oh man, it was magic.
Making a new hire, a new position, or taking your company from a one-man show to a team of two can seem really intimidating. But you are investing in your product, your company, and your brand, and the right candidate will see that and want to be a partner in your success. Taking this step was one of the best things I’ve ever done for my company, and it opened up a world of possibilities I’d never have been able to explore on my own.
3. Choose and Develop Partnerships
Speaking of which, the best and fastest lesson I learned while starting my entrepreneurship journey is the value of partnership. I started my company when I was only 16 years old, and since then I have been helped by many people who decided to come with me and give me the advice and gentle push in the right direction I needed to succeed was needed.
You’ll be surprised at the way your relationships and mentorship can grow your business, so don’t be afraid to seek out both those things — and lots of them — as your company grows. One of the best things that comes out of my desire to pursue meaningful partnerships is my friendship with fellow entrepreneur Billy Wilson. I started out as his advisor, and now we’re both working together on a joint venture 6 Figure Agency Elite.
Above all, the best lesson I learned is the one that really can’t be quantified. I learned to trust my gut and believe that I would be successful, even when it seemed almost impossible to contemplate. We gain nothing by sidelining ourselves and, while the above three lessons were certainly learned through life’s hard times school, I wouldn’t change that for the world. My experiences made me and my business stronger because I was willing to learn from them all.