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The ugly truth about being a young entrepreneur

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Starting your own business can be rough — especially if you’re new to the workforce. Regardless of your resources, I think young entrepreneurs all battle some of the same things. Here are some things that you realize after you make that “big announcement” of starting your own.

You will fail… over and over before you succeed.

Failing is a part of the process. It’s okay that you don’t know what you’re doing, well no one else does either when they’re just getting started. Of course, you are working you’re hardest to make all of the right decisions, but mistakes will happen. We make them every day. Your ideas and first attempts to sell them to the public will not go flawlessly. And sometimes, you will experience that multiple times before you get hang of it.

I take all my failures in stride. That’s what helps us grow. In addition to blogging, I also have an art shop on Etsy. I have wins and losses with that every day. One of my major losses earlier on was trying to send an order overseas. The shipping was double the amount the customer paid for it. With Esty, the shipping can be estimated within the selling price, but for this instance, it was way off. So I actually paid out of pocket to send it. I was too scared to mention it to the customer because they already paid for it. As embarrassing as this was, I didn’t let that affect me negatively. I went back on the website to make sure that would never, EVER happen again.

The support you want from your current network won’t be what you imagined.

I’m sure we all had friends and family encourage us to monetize a certain talent or skill. They told you how much money you could make on the side from “putting yourself out there.” they offered their help to you and all you had to do was “just let them know.” This isn’t always the case for young entrepreneurs. People will love to support you when it doesn’t require them to invest too much of their own resources. Also, they may be very willing to help out in the beginning, but that changes over time. After a while, continuing to ask your same network for support won’t go as far as you did in the beginning. So you have to prepare to have your business be able to stand alone without begging people to promote your content or continue to donate funds. Expecting your business to solely be supported by your current network is doomed. You have to branch out.

So here’s what I learned on how to continue growing without overwhelming your current network. You have to have a giving hand in order to receive. It’s so important for you to build a network of other young entrepreneurs to help them so they can help you. Collaborations early on will definitely keep you alive. Also, showing up for others is just as important as them showing up for you. Ask yourself, “How many times have I used my platforms to support someone else?” If you didn’t like that answer, maybe you should consider being a blessing to someone instead of just trying to receive blessings. Find different groups and pages on social media to help keep your business alive and profitable.

Ageism is real. And the older generation will not let you forget your age.

Ageism is probably one of the most frustrating parts in my opinion. I get criticized and questioned relentlessly from older people for decisions that I believe in my best interest. It’s rare to be asked about my experience or the research. I often wonder if that would happen if I was closer in age to some of them? As someone is is very analytical and data-driven, I always try to circle back to the fact that I don’t make decisions simply based on my instincts (which is also highly recommended), but I use data to help back up my instincts.

As a young millennial, I also work with people who will also assume I have a poor work ethic and not willing to make my ideas happen. So I often have to prove myself that I am ambitious, creative and have a very strong work ethic to yield the best results. Seeing how often this happens in the workplace, I always try to come super prepared to meetings and events to show to others that I may be new to the workforce, but I am a force. Don’t ever let anyone intimidate you because of your age.

There will never be enough hours in the day for you always feel accomplished.

No matter how hard you work on your business — the more you do, the more you realize what needs to be done. From the beginning stages of brainstorming to managing the day-to-day, running a business can be quite overwhelming. Getting started can feel like a never-ending to-do list. If you’re an overachiever like me, honestly, it’s always going to be that way. You’ll always find new projects to work on to make your business grow and be the best that it can be and that’s okay.

For example, I always feel like I can do more on my website to make it more creative and user-friendly. Then there’s so much I would like to do on social media, but I simply don’t have the time. Being able to effectively prioritize your responsibilities is the best advice I can give. Then, you just take it day by day. Part of my self-care is giving myself grace for not being able to check off everything on my to-do list. I know my projects and businesses will always be a work in progress. I focus on doing the best I can every day and trust that everything else will fall into place.

What are some struggles you’ve had from starting your own business?


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