One of the best aspects of modern working life is that you no longer need to grind out years in the same company, fighting for promotions that never come, and never getting to be your own boss. Today, people in their 20s can make a go of entrepreneurship from the comfort of a bedroom, or on the move traveling, with ease.
Entrepreneurship and side hustles, while exciting and hugely fruitful if you get it right, are also a test of many different forms for many of us. Starting your journey in your 20s means learning a lot very quickly, but also means getting a headstart on your competition. The average age of entrepreneurs is roughly 35 years old, and the sooner you begin, the better in many ways. If you’ve already started making inroads into a new venture, here are some top tips on taking it to the next level.
Do Your Homework
If you’re someone who can’t ignore the fine print, entrepreneurship can hold a lot of promise for you. Starting a business is often easy when you’re doing it alone because you’re ultimately only answering to yourself. Essentially these are your ideas and your ways of working. If you’re thinking of starting a business in a manual field with operational risks, your safety and security are the only priorities to worry about. A lot of business owners look at growth as a double-edged sword. Hiring new people means expanding your brand, your services, and your reputational reach – which is great.
But, hiring that first employee or opening a location carries a lot of administrative burdens with it. Applicant checks, business insurance policies, pension auto-enrollment, and health and safety processes are all suddenly your responsibility. Business insurance, for example, is paramount if you’re wanting to grow a specialist business in construction, or manufacturing for example.
One of the most pivotal points is to ensure that you’re covered with valid insurance so that, if an employee were to make a claim against you, or a customer were to experience an accident on your premises, there would be sufficient legal coverage. You don’t want to overlook this small but crucial detail because the compensation for a personal injury claim and legal fees alone can wipe out a small business before it’s begun. Equally, registering correctly with the government, while a manual process that you may consider to be time-consuming or less important in the grand scheme of things, will protect you from fines that can cripple you when cash flow matters most in those early days.
Rely on your professional network, and the freelance economy for advice and services on anything from business taxes, risk assessments, or insurance policies. Basically, do your homework before making growth decisions, otherwise, you’re only creating new problems for yourself.
Build A Lifestyle
It’s become a cliche in some ways, but the mindset you carry into growing a small business or expanding a side hustle to a full-time gig can make or break your chances. In those solo days, or if you initially operated as a freelancer, the business was technically as big as you wanted it to be. You defined how much work you took on. Growing businesses are different. Some of the best-known entrepreneurs worked famously intense and dedicated schedules.
Rising early like Steve Jobs or Tim Cook is not a cliche, it’s a necessity to stay on top. Choose healthy life options around getting enough sleep and eating right where possible to feed that increased workload, and you’ll feel more in tune with your business than ever before. Living and breathing a small business scares many people. It’s a lifestyle that demands dedication. However, just like the need to “do your homework”, setting an alarm and being present is vital.
Starting to mentor is a practice many entrepreneurs often get into in later life. The founder’s journey in your 20s is often isolated, intense, and nebulous, so speaking to and learning from people who’ve been there is a massively valuable thing. As you begin to grow your businesses and your responsibility along with it, reach out to your social and personal networks for advice and insight from older generations, especially those who started early or began from unconventional places.
The Entrepreneurial Mind, The Founder Coach, and Both Sides Of The Table are all very popular blogs, but what elevates them is the honesty over how common failure is, even in the later stages of startup life. A popular statistic is that 96% of businesses never make it to their tenth birthday. Drop an email or a DM to a producer and ask for their opinions; you’ll be surprised by how fellow entrepreneurs want to help others on their journey.
One of the hardest lessons to learn in growing a business in your 20s is how to not fear failure. You can develop habits, speak to contemporaries and be diligent in your administration, but ultimately, a big part of not getting caught in headlights and faltering is understanding that growing a business in your 20s on its own is already something to be proud of. From there, you realize that entrepreneurship is a continuous journey of understanding. Being able to tell yourself that you’re on the right track is worth its weight in gold, especially when times get tough.