Wisdom Knows No Age: 5 Lessons To Learn From Young Entrepreneurs


Establishing a business is hard. It requires hard work, an excellent idea and a bit of luck for any startup to succeed and rake in profits.

But, you don't have to be some savvy veteran in order to beat the odds. Some of the world's most successful businesses have been started by people under 20 years old.

Just take a look at Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, who both changed the technology world at young ages.

And, with the power of the Internet, even teenagers can become millionaires if they have the right idea, will and creativity.

Here are some tips we can all learn from these success stories:

1. Technology is your friend.

One of the easiest ways to become a successful entrepreneur in this day and age is to learn about technology and coding.

Zuckerberg, Larry Page and Sergey Brin (the latter two are Google founders), may be the most famous entrepreneurs who found success through their websites and technology know-how, but they are not the only ones.

John Magennis started off doing web designs at his home when he was 14. By the time he was 17, he had created a multi-million dollar business.

Chris Phillips barely passed his high school business studies class while he was making millions.

Whatever his business sense may be, Chris’s technology acumen allowed him to launch a web hosting and e-commerce site called Dot5Hosting. The company earned his first million when he was 17.

2. Take risks, but have a back-up plan.

Everyone who knows anything about businesses will tell you that risk is a necessary part of entrepreneurship.

Sean Belnick set up BizChair.com, an online furniture business, at age 14 and currently makes about $50 million per year. When he was asked if he has any regrets, however, he said he didn't take enough risks in expanding his business.

But, there is a difference in taking risks and taking reckless risks. If you gamble your business on something going well, Murphy’s Law will get you.

Properly assess whether the reward is worth the risk before you take the plunge. As Belnick observed, “Always have a backup plan in case something goes wrong — because it will.”

3. You can’t do it alone.

Isaac Newton observed his scientific discoveries came by “Standing on the shoulder of giants.” And any person, no matter how smart he is, can only get so far by himself.

You need to have a solid team to work alongside in your business, but you also need to have someone who can teach you the ins and outs of entrepreneurship.

Just ask Catherine Cook, who founded the social networking site MeetMe (formerly myYearbook) in 2005 with her brother, Dave.

Those two siblings credit their older brother Geoff, another successful Internet entrepreneur, for helping them set up and manage the website.

4. Keep your ideas simple.

As noted above, one of the easiest ways to become a successful Internet entrepreneur is to know technology and coding.

But, you also need to have a basic idea. Look at the earlier example of BizChair.com, which does nothing more than sell office furniture.

You can also look at James Murray Wells, who started wearing eyeglasses in college and was outraged by the markups of the optician companies.

Wells set up Prescription Eyewear Limited in response with the remains of his student loans, and he sold eyeglasses directly to the public.

In 2013, the company sold about €35m worth of eyeglasses.

There is nothing fancy about selling office chairs or eyeglasses, but of those simple strategies have made their young founders rich men.

5. Be creative.

An entrepreneur is not just someone who establishes a startup. Justin Bieber is an entrepreneur.

People who establish YouTube channels, like CaptainSparklez, are entrepreneurs. Successful web comic artists are entrepreneurs.

But, what all these people have in common is they found niches they could talk or write from. And their hard work turned these creative businesses into the successful ventures they are today.

Wells, Belnick, Cook and everyone else mentioned above never gave up on their dreams of becoming successful.

They founded businesses that suited their passions, and they rode them to prosperity.

If you want to emulate them, then the first and most important step is to embody the same drive and creativity in your own life.