Young entrepreneurship is no walk in the park. Oftentimes, young entrepreneurs launch their businesses before they are truly ready.
I was one of those entrepreneurs when I launched my marketing agency at a mere 24 years old. I did not even have a target industry or consumer in mind. I did not have all the experience necessary to run the business, and every day was and still acts as a challenge. However, I launched with a desire to succeed, and that was my competitive advantage.
The reality of the situation is that young entrepreneurship comes with many pros and cons.
Starting with the cons, as a young marketing entrepreneur, you will be more inclined to work overtime.
When I launched my marketing agency, I went above and beyond my contractual scope of work to serve my clients. I had to work twice as hard to prove myself because I did not have as extensive of a portfolio as my more experienced competitors did. Although this tactic worked in the short run, it quickly became apparent that it was not a sustainable way to compete, as it presented an obstacle to our growth when we could not pitch for new accounts because we were so busy catering to our current requests. Eventually, we began setting healthy boundaries with our clients and created a reasonable balance as to what could be catered to and what could not.
Young entrepreneurs will likely lack the people skills necessary to attract and retain the right talent.
Young entrepreneurs will likely disregard how important it is to keep their teams happy because, oftentimes, they have taken on more than they can chew. How can they be expected to care for people when they themselves are carrying a whirlpool of responsibilities?
When you are young, pitfalls and mistakes are mere learning experiences. You are actively learning the steps of building an empire after multiple trials and errors.
The truth of the matter is that it is the people on the train that make all the difference and are a big deciding factor in your success. So, if young entrepreneurs want to succeed, they must create a compelling offer to attract and retain the right talent. The people who join you on the train need to be convinced that your startup will make it, and it is your job to A) convince them and B) show them how this success will work in their favor.
Most young entrepreneurs run on passion, not discipline.
Not every project is going to be exciting. Certain parts of running a business are flat-out boring. Every job comes with some admin work. For these reasons, some young entrepreneurs might call it quits when times get a little less fun. More experienced people tend to be more disciplined and better able to manage and discipline themselves.
As for the pros, young entrepreneurs are high on energy.
In all honesty, entrepreneurship can suck the life out of you. If you do not have a crazy amount of energy to go around and absolutely love what you do, you may just want to call it quits from the get-go. I know that when I launched at the age of 24, I could afford to work long hours with a smile on my face, but I am not sure I would be able to put in the same long hours 20 or 30 years from now.
Young entrepreneurs have an eagerness to explore new and unprecedented ways.
When we are young, we dare to dream. I can speak for myself when I say that younger entrepreneurs will tend to be riskier. They are not as calculated with their decisions and just go for it. It is that trait that allows young entrepreneurs to pursue new, fresh ideas that have not necessarily been tried and tested.
As an agency that supports startups with their growth, we work alongside many young businesses with revolutionary ideas.
In conversation with one of my clients and a fellow young entrepreneur, it became clear to me that young people truly do have an advantage in that they will likely be the first to try something new. Huzaifa Ali, the owner of Art of Dates, a date boutique store offering a variety of dates with premium fillings, said:
“With Saudi expanding its reach toward tourists and the new generation of businessmen and women, I felt confident in my venture to modernize this traditional fruit. The rising number of new and young businesses in Saudi Arabia has also led me to connect with young company owners like myself, and it is that openness that we benefited from as a team.”
Ali’s mission is to change the perception around dates in the region and promote including the fruit in your daily diet instead of only on religious occasions.
Every pitfall young entrepreneurs face acts as a learning experience.
When you are young, pitfalls and mistakes are mere learning experiences. You are actively learning the steps of building an empire after multiple trials and errors. If your startup fails, you can always pack your bags and walk away with knowledge that you can use in any other organization. I made countless mistakes as I was starting out, and those same mistakes have allowed me to hone my skills and service my clients better today.
Entrepreneurship means you get to forge your own path. Rather than following the formula of those who came before you, you are looking at a chance to shape your future. Even if you stay mainstream with your product or service, each day as an entrepreneur allows you to find new, out-of-the-box ways of delivering on that.
• Lara Geadah is an entrepreneur, marketing and PR strategist, and founder of Cameo Comms.