One of my favourite things to talk about is youth enterprise; being a young age of 20 I have noticed that there are certain skills and abilities the youth hold that go hand in hand in hand with starting a business.
From my personal experience I have been involved with many enterprising projects, including setting up my own summer Ice Cream Bike Business, importing toys from China, and running my own Charity project: Raffle Remedy.
In this post I collaborate with Brook Dellar, who started her own Graphics Design company ‘Exquisite design’ at the age of 16. Now coming up to 18 she runs her business as well as being the Sales & Marketing manager of two other companies.
Together we discuss the benefits of being young in business, along with the challenges we face , but most importantly offering advice for anyone who is thinking of starting their own business at a young age.
I asked Brook what made her want to run her own business…
Brook “When I was younger I took a course which involved setting up our own company; me and my friends set up a punting company and made just shy of £1k in one month – At that moment, I knew I didn’t want to go into further education. Most of my family run their own businesses and the flexibility to grow your business and being control of your future appealed to me.“
So what skills and abilities do the Youth hold to start a business?
For me, creativity is one of the biggest driving factors in Youth Entrepreneurship; the ability to look at a problem that has not yet been solved and apply new knowledge to think outside the box. In some instances I think creativity drains out of us with age, where life becomes more about conformity and procedure. The Young business owner breaks that conformity.
Brook “I read an article which discussed how everything has changed since Smartphones; nowadays you are your own Accountant, Secretary, Travel Agent – juggling several professions at the touch of a button. This is where it makes the Youth stronger, being brought up within a technological revolution offering far more opportunities to build skills and knowledge. Having endless qualifications, building your knowledge and growing your portfolio is great, but combine that with experience and enthusiasm, well that’s something that customers will want to buy into and be a part of. Be enthusiastic and they will be enthusiastic too.
Today’s youth are much more perceptive of opportunity and have a fearless attitude to risk; what have we really got to lose? As you grow up, rent, mortgage, families… you have more responsibilities to balance on the scale of opportunity.
Does being young in business make it difficult to be taken seriously?
I think age seems to be a taboo area in business; some people will see this as a big thing but personally, I believe if you are confident enough and can show your maturity, nothing can hold you back. I refer back to March where I applied for The Apprentice; facing the judges in a room surrounded by elder candidates ranging from 30 – 70 years of age; I sat there and thought, what have they got that I haven’t? With a deep breath and 30 seconds of confidence, I showed them what I was made of and got through to the next round.
Brook “ Yes and No; I always use to worry about this when applying for jobs, so I made a conscious effort to be more mature, come across like the next Alan Sugar and purposely not adding my Date Of Birth to my CV. But then it hit me, if I am eager to work, have enough qualifications and experience to see me through then that’s something no employer in their right mind would turn down”
I also believe that being young can also work as an advantage. From my personal experience I find that businesses are keen to pay favours and help young people start up in business – as they know one day you will grow up and repay the favour.
I think you will always get the people who think ‘They are too young, they do not have enough experience as a person or business”. I believe that age shouldn’t go hand in hand with experience.
Brook “ I also disagree that people shouldn’t relate age to experience, It all depends on how much you gain from the experiences that you do have and how you can apply this to new challenges.”
I believe we gain experience from our external environment…being brought up in family businesses, watching TV, the internet, reading books. Employers tend to judge people on their experience relating to that particular industry, and pays less attention to the characteristics one has gained that are best suited for that job.
Any tips for a young person looking to start their own business?
Brook “One, Experience. Get it, work at different places and find what you want to run your business in”
From these experiences make great relationships with your networks, as these contacts may help you when you’re on the way up.
Brook “Two, Enthusiasm. Use it, show it and you’ll get the same vibes back from everyone else. If you don’t believe in yourself, people won’t believe in you.”
Everything you do, make it great – show your confidence and capabilities as an individual.
Brook “Three, Go for it. The best time to experiment and make mistakes is when you’re young. You don’t necessarily have children, a mortgage and a shed load of bills to pay. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you, after all if it goes wrong you won’t be sat back at 90 years old going ‘what if’”
Think of starting a business like getting a tattoo, don’t spend too much time questioning how nice it will look or whether you will regret it, just design it and go get it.
Do you have any stories on starting a business at a young age, would like some more advice? Me and Brook would love to hear your thoughts,
You can also find more about Brook and her company below.