Starting a business while being a full-time student is tough, especially with managing your workload and living out your social life. Many of these young business-minded students are stuck in a position where they don't know how to start and don't know when to start.
Here are some tips I recommend to starting your own business in high school and keeping it running:
1. Find your interests
Building a business from the ground up is a tough task for people on its own, never mind a high school student rushing around to figure out their future. To build a business, it takes dedication, sacrifice, and time. Remember, now is the time to act.
Look inside yourself and think about what you are passionate about. What classes do you enjoy? What are your hobbies? What TV shows do you watch or what video games do you play? Find something that intrigues you and gets you motivated to get up and work.
What defines YOU? Ask yourself these questions and think about how you can combine your values and these interests.
Remember, a business is a display of yourself.
Your business should be made up of parts of yourself. It should encompass what you believe in and your own personality! You don't need to pretend to be someone you're not. You will stick out of the crowd by being you, not by copying others. Your authenticity will be appreciated by your own group of consumers.
Let your personality, values, and interests build up your business, and have fun!
What can your business do to make the world a better place? Though it can seem exciting to jump into the entrepreneurship game, in order to set up a successful business, ask yourself what you are contributing to society. What is your mission or cause?
Even the biggest brands have missions that set them apart from their competition. Take these as a few examples:
Starbucks- "In everything we do, we are always dedicated to Our Mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time."
Dunkin' Donuts- "We strive to keep you at your best, and we remain loyal to you, your tastes and your time. That's what America runs on."
McDonald's- "Our mission is to make delicious feel-good moments easy for everyone. This is how we uniquely feed and foster communities."
Chik-fil-A- "To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."
Finding a Community
Find a group of like-minded people who are aiming towards the same goal as you. Have you ever noticed that the more you are around someone, the more you are likely to pick up words or phrases that person says? That is because your friends are a REFLECTION of you. Your personality is a collection of the traits of those around you, so choose your friends wisely. Your social circle will make a significant impact on your teen life, but where do you find that circle?
- Check out a club at school. Although it may seem like you are alone in your journey right now, I guarantee you that there is a scattered group of individuals in your elementary or high school that are thinking the same thing as you. Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting with the leaders of my school’s new Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship Club. After searching my whole freshman year and not finding a like-minded group of students, I was ecstatic to see and talk to people who experienced the same struggles as me and had similar goals as me. You may not be able to find a group near you right now, and that’s totally fine. But if you keep persevering and searching for a community, it will come to you in no time.
- Social media. The internet is an endless abyss of resources at your disposal. Use them to your advantage! Lookup groups on Facebook or search on Instagram and TikTok– use the platforms you consume, to produce something that will assist your growth. There’s millions of teens out on social media who express their views, beliefs, and goals on platforms. Connect with them and grow your community! I’ve connected with teen entrepreneurs simply by sending them a DM asking to meet on a call. It’s that simple. Go out and find your circle.
3. Take Action
The final and continuous step is to take action. It may seem convincing to leave it to tomorrow or make excuses as to why you aren’t ready. The truth is, we never are ready. It’s scary to step outside your comfort zone, and you have every right to feel that way. But if you keep putting it off until “some day” then you will never accomplish anything. Take a small step every day, and it will add up to something great.
Taking action is a MUST in your journey and it should be done consistently. The road to success is a marathon, not a sprint. You must continuously take action and hold yourself accountable. Motivation will get you started, but determination and diligence will keep you going.
Your journey is limitless, just as limitless as your ability and growth. You can do anything if you are consistent and persevere. There will be times when life kicks you down and you may want to wallow in fear, doubt, and anxiety. In those times, get up. Look to your companions and remind yourself of your mission. Your “why” will get you through these troubles more than motivation will.
Time, Money, Experience
In all good partnerships, each person has something to give the other. 3 main components of a partnership transaction that you should keep in mind are: time, money, and experience. Our businesses are puzzles that need pieces to complete them. For example, maybe you are struggling getting your business off the group because of a lack of money and expertise, however, you have a lot of time on your hands as a student. In the same way, a company or mentor might reach out to you because they have the money and experience, but they need more hands or brains. A partnership is an exchange of tangible or intangible values that end in a profit for both sides.
Look for your other piece of the puzzle. Find ways you can provide value for them, and how they can provide value to you. Just because you are starting out, doesn’t mean you don’t have anything. Time is the most valuable resource and it’s free! People are constantly looking for ways to gain more time for themselves, and by giving up some of your time, you can gain so much more.
Importance of Starting Young
Youth entrepreneurship has so many benefits that parents and kids don’t realize. Although it is important to live your life, have fun, and be a kid, it is also important to take advantage of what you can do right now. You might think of your age as a disadvantage, but it’s actually the opposite! Because you are starting now, you get to make your mistakes while still under your parents’ roof. Think about it: most adults miss opportunities because they are too scared of the risk. They have too much to lose and too many needs to be responsible for. Rent, food, education, etc., they need to consider all that before taking a risk. You, on the other hand, have the safety net of your parents. If you fail or make mistakes, you don’t have to worry about putting food on the table.
Even if you are responsible for those needs, don’t worry! Your age is a symbol of your achievements. Use those responsibilities as your drive and hunger for success.
I hope this blog helped any of you young entrepreneurs out there! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @alittleladyboss on Instagram and look forward to next update!
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