Often times whenever I speak at conferences or do events like cooking demonstrations, someone asks me, “How did you become this?” implying “this” as an entrepreneur. Every time my answer seems to follow a pattern of following one’s passion with perseverance or some variation of that.
I don’t think I have any secret formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur or teen entrepreneur, but I do believe that I can provide some insight to help you get on the right path.
When you talk to an entrepreneur — regardless of age — and ask them what the most difficult part of starting his or her own business, the answer could vary, but what I’ve heard most (and experienced) is the sacrifices that come with entrepreneurship. The sacrifice could be not enough time with loved ones, large sums of cash used as seed money or perhaps putting a new project over sleep.
Although they do seem like burdens initially, these sacrifices help you grow as an entrepreneur.
Are you interested in becoming a teen entrepreneur? You can start by cutting these three things from your life:
1. Excessive social media use. This tip has by far been the hardest for me. I know that living in a digital age where we can instantly share and see everything that’s going on around us is extremely attractive, especially to teenagers who enjoy constantly feeling connected. (I’m 17, too — trust me, I understand.) However, even with moderate use, social media can be overwhelmingly addicting. For this reason, I logged out of all my personal social media accounts and only use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for work. I realized I would spend hours on these apps wasting time that could be used to productively work on my business. So if you notice this habit forming, I would cut it immediately.
2. Unscheduled events. I know this one may sound a bit odd, but in my life, my schedule is critical. While trying to balance my business, school and personal life, I realized that I needed a schedule to prevent any mishaps and to maintain a healthy balance in my life. This schedule allows me to make time for a social life and dedicate business hours as well as time to do my homework and school activities. As with any schedule, you have to stick with it to be effective. If you truly want some spontaneity, you could actually allot some time in your week for unscheduled activities (ironically enough!).
3. Unnecessary overspending. I know that those new leggings or pair of sneakers are tantalizing when you go to the mall with your friends, but unfortunately, you can’t spend money on items frivolously. The majority of the money you make from the business should be put back in to help improve it in one way or another. However, here is a reminder for you: an investment in you is an investment in the business because you are an entrepreneur. So when you land a huge win on a project or gain a major investor, you deserve to treat yourself a little — but not excessively.
While these habits can be difficult to develop in the beginning, once they become a routine, they will help pave your way to being a more productive and efficient teen entrepreneur.
Remmi Smith is co-founder of Cook Time with Remmi, a health based company for kids and families, and Chef Club Box, a subscription fresh meal kit service delivering healthy, meals each month.
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