What you do in your late teens and 20s can define the type of person you are and who you will become. Where you go, whom you meet and what you learn sets the stage for the rest of your life.
As a 21-year-old college dropout who decided her life to be too complex to determine a field to which she should devote her life, I identified three things I know for sure:
1. I want to have fun.
2. I want to do what I want to do.
3. I wanted to live a life that other people will envy.
So far, I’m doing just that and I love it. Many people ask how I’m so self-aware, how I am able to travel to the places I go and how I manage not to work for someone else.
My simple answer: I don’t think about it.
I don’t claim to know everything, and if there is something I need to know, I figure it out — sometimes the hard way. Many people embrace the notion that entrepreneurs are really smart people who have all the answers and make good decisions; it’s simply not true.
Very quickly, we realize that a lot of what we do is trial and error. Try to push through the errors.
We do everything that we possibly can so that we don’t have to work for other people and so we can do what we want with our lives. Check out this list of things to do before you turn 30 to help get you to where you want to be in life:
1. Figure out what keeps your heart beating.
What makes you happy? If you get excited about derivatives and somehow understand how calculus makes algebra easier, then be a mathematician. I like woodworking and was raised on construction, so its no wonder that I now build houses. Doing so also gives me the freedom to still sit at the coffee shop and write in the middle of the workweek, travel and have fun, which I also prioritize.
2. Determine whether or not you are willing to be broke.
Taking a risk of any sort means that there are no guarantees, so determine whether or not you are you willing to be dirt poor to do what you want in life. Take the chance to get exactly what you want and earn however much you want. You will almost certainly lose money, but potentially, the money you lose may bring in more money.
A friend of mine wanted to create a website without having much money to start a business, and when I told him how much it would cost for him to do what he wanted, he was shocked, but he was determined. He spent everything to make his website and to get his company going. Now, clients hire him to fix or wire electronics on their airplanes, yachts and small boats. Currently, his business is expanding.
Traveling is imperative. It will broaden your horizons, allow you to see other cultures and other people’s points of view, and lets you incorporate any new wisdom and culture into your life and business. I used to own part of an inflatable rental franchise, and when the owners of the corporate company went to China to see manufacturers, they experienced and learned about the Chinese culture, which allowed them to tap into new markets, like Chinese New Year bounce houses and other inflatables. This grew client lists and profit.
4. Write down all ideas.
This allows you not only to remember that million-dollar idea, but lets you expand on it and make modifications. When I was young, my father told me to do this after forgetting a dream or an idea I had while in school. “For every 100 ideas I write down, there is at least one good one,” he told me. It’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received.
5. Let people call you crazy.
Set out to achieve your goals, but be flexible when your plans change. People tell me to buckle down, do one thing and stick with it, but generally, the people who offer this advice work for other people for their entire lives, which is not my goal. I’m working on four of five concurrent projects to diversify my portfolio, which, if done correctly, is the key to making a substantial amount of money.
When people learn that I have so much happening at once, they think I’m wishy-washy and that I don’t know what I want to do; they think I’m crazy. People can call you crazy all they want, but most of them just wish they had the guts to risk everything and do what you are doing. You may not get immediate payout, but you must keep trying to get your reward.