How old were you when you started your first business? Warren Buffett started off with pinball machines in barber shops as a young man. Great entrepreneurs often have lofty ideas and goals at a very young age, and while Millennials are mostly choosing to skip entrepreneurship Gen Z is going after their dreams with a vengeance. There are some issues that come along with starting your own business at a very young age, however, and it isn’t going to be an easy road for these young entrepreneurs.
Today 61% of high school students and 43% of college students want to become entrepreneurs some day. Many young people are taking advantage of the technology available to them that hasn’t been available to previous generations to start businesses from very young ages. Fiverr is a great example of a marketplace where people can do small tasks for five dollars, while Etsy is a good example of a marketplace where people can sell handmade items to a large audience. There are opportunities out there today that didn’t exist even when most Millennials were coming of age. As technology advances so do nontraditional business opportunities.
Young people face a wide variety of obstacles, however. There’s not only a pervasive myth that young people are lazy and entitled, but there’s also the problem of not legally being able to enter into a contract, not legally being able to get a credit card, and not legally being able to get a bank loan. In addition to legal obstacles there are rules in place with many rental car agencies, hotels, and other businesses that prevent anyone under the age of 21 from using their services. This makes things like networking and conferences nearly impossible for young entrepreneurs.
Additionally young people who are running businesses may have trouble keeping up their grades in school and maintaining a social life. Running a business is a serious proposition and it may not always be easy to schedule around school, homework, and social activities. What’s more, young people lack the experience to know that they shouldn’t hire their friends to work for them unless their friends share their passions and their goals.
There are plenty of upsides to being a young entrepreneur, however. Not having anything to lose prevents much of the fear that goes along with building and growing a startup business. Being a digital native also helps. But probably the single greatest advantage is not having conventional business wisdom weighing you down, which can leave you free to discover new ideas. Learn more about young entrepreneurs from this infographic!