I am a young lady with so many goals and futuristic ambitions that most of my elders will deem unattainable and might tag, ‘a bit of a rush’ at such a young age. ‘Focus on your books’ they will say,’ you’re not even 25 yet and you have drafted over 250 proposals for various business ideas’.
I look around me and I see all my peers that haven’t even reached a quarter of a century sitting among top Executives and CEOs in board meetings, giving their ideas and opinions on multi million Naira deals, brokering contracts for international oil companies and the likes. Attaining formal education gives us leverage, but our generation is by far the most fortunate and well vast clique. As a MILLENNIAL, I am part of the most connected generation in history, I have learnt better than anyone before me how to effortlessly blend work and play, I can be in the comfort of my home, in my room and still make a steady income, constantly stay connected to the people I care about, and multitask.
I cannot single-handedly state that I have all the answers or I know all the tricks to the trade but that’s the twist as a MILLENNIAL – you have decades of knowledge available to you, easily accessible via the web and from your parents or mentors. Right now, starting up a business is not as technical as it used to be; gone are the days of pitching investors and huge capital. The main reason most Millennials are foregoing the 9-5 path and opting to building their own businesses is majorly because as at this moment, the labour market isn’t as robust as it once was and at this moment in history, becoming a young entrepreneur is almost as rational as looking for a job.
The older generations have a lot to say on young entrepreneurs, they have tagged us as young, immature and entitled. And I wonder how we can use these traits and ‘flaws’ to our advantage.
Here is how;
Before I proceed, I just want to put out a friendly reminder that SnapChat and Facebook were founded by young Millennials.
1- Be energetic.
As a young person about to start up a business, you have to be enthusiastic about it. Never ‘sleep’ on it; be ready at all times to sell your new idea to anybody at all times. Enthusiasm is contagious and overly infectious, even if the person is paying no mind to this new venture, the mere fact that the mention of this idea makes you giddy might tickle potential clients’ fancy. Being a young entrepreneur, you automatically pack a team of Millennials like yourself, they need to see that their Oliver Queen is always hyped and energetic, this trait can also help you seal some business deals and connections.
2- Be impatient.
Always think 5steps ahead. Work like you have 15 hours in a day and not 24 hours. Be hungry for results at all times, you are young and you have your whole life ahead of you; do things with so much zeal and make moves double times over. When a problem arises use that same speed to fix it, don’t wait around for results, strap your belt and fix it. This impatience will always serve you well.
3 – Take Risks.
I saw somewhere that, ‘The best cure for a hangover is being under 25’. That made me giggle. It gave me a quick idea, ‘the best cure for a failed business is being under 25’. Get it? Let me explain, when you are young, you have less to lose from a failed business than you ever will. In the very least you will learn something new and you can even write a ‘how to’ manual from the amount of times your butt hit the ground but you got up and progressed! Be bold, make moves and take risks.
4 – Stay Social.
Naomi Campbell (international model) gave an interview recently; she said social media has made modeling easy; she said gone are the days of working extra hard at your craft hoping for an agent to notice you and find some level of peculiarity in your looks, nowadays you just take some nice pictures in your room and put it up on Instagram and GBAM! You’re an international model.
As a millennial, you could launch a business in Lagos that can get to China in 5 seconds. Always be active with your business on all the necessary platforms. It is like multi-international advertisement but you don’t get to pay a penny.
5 – Seek help and advice.
Smart entrepreneurs always know when they need to step back a notch, admit they made a mistake and seek a mentor or professional assistance.
6- Hire Experienced People.
Even Jay-Z needed someone with more experience to run Tidal, he understands Hip Hop culture and what it represents, but that is not enough to run a music streaming service that puts the needs of the artistes first. Mark Zuckerberg hired Sheryl Sandberg who has 15 years’ experience to manage his business.
Finally, social media is all well and good but it cannot take the place of physical meetings and interactions. Attend conferences, dinners, empowerment programs, workshops, interact and create bonds and friendships for businesses and futuristic interactions.