Age can add to the challenges that young entrepreneurs face. Prejudice in the business world and public stereotypes can put pressure on young entrepreneurs that can lead to lost opportunities and shaky self-confidence. Add inexperience to the mix, and you’ll understand why so many young business owners fail.
Despite the external and internal forces that can slow you down, you can succeed as an entrepreneur. Many people your age or younger have already overcome all odds to become great achievers in their trade, profession or industry. Get ready for your new career by learning about and overcoming the following top challenges that you will face.
You could face your top challenge when you try to get enough money to start and operate your business. Raising funds when you have to deal with student loans and a limited credit history can take a long time. Even your cost of capital can be much higher than an older person who has more assets and experience.
Get access to the cash reserves needed for your business by starting with a fantastic business plan and pitch. You might need to tap unconventional sources, including friends and family members, because banks and other lenders might not help. You might also need to find a partner. Also, you should set realistic expectations for when your new venture will turn a profit.
2. Facing Age Stereotypes
People in the business community might downplay your decision to become an entrepreneur, blaming it on immaturity and wishful thinking. Meanwhile, you might face resistance from customers who might instinctively regard you as lazy or reckless. Even older business owners and professionals might doubt your mettle. Accept and face the fact that your age can work against you.
Overcome age stereotypes by exhibiting professionalism in everything you do. Treat everyone, including your detractors with respect. Don’t let ageism discourage you from your entrepreneurial dreams. By having self-confidence and proving yourself, you set a new standard and help break down age barriers for future generations of young entrepreneurs.
3. Social Rejection
Your friends and family members might not agree with your decision to become an entrepreneur, especially if none of them have ever started a business. During the day, while everyone you know is working at their job, you might feel isolated or become depressed. Being on the go all the time, you might find yourself traveling or working to get ready for the next day and missing the time you used to spend with family and friends.
Fight social rejection by networking with other ambitious young professionals and like-minded peers who are supportive of you and share your passion for business and lifestyle. You should also reserve time for your family and other personal relationships to ensure that you never neglect your roles outside of business.
4. Facing Criticism
Don’t let your ego prevent you from important lessons. When people criticize you for mistakes you make or the risks you take, you might have an instinctive reflex to resist or ignore them. At the same time, you shouldn’t let your critics get the best of you when they have harsh words in the way of setbacks or failure. Some of the criticism comes from people who think you should get a “real” job, but others might have feedback that can contribute to your success.
Face criticism by understanding that it’s a part of life. Also, you should never take things personally or get too emotional about the words people say. Do everything you can to not let jealous, negative people block your path to success. At the same time, however, you should look for wisdom in all the feedback you receive, especially when it comes from people who are on your side.
5. Hiring Employees for the First Time
The growth of your startup means that you will soon need help with its operation. Finding someone with the necessary values and skills to work for your business can seem difficult, if not impossible. Attracting the best workers requires competitive salaries and benefits, something that young entrepreneurs often cannot provide. Even when you hire employees, they don’t always work out.
Expand your labor pool by looking for talented remote workers who live in other cities, states or countries who can work with you while controlling costs. Hiring remote employees can also save you money because you won’t need extra office space or pay for the utilities and other overhead that comes with moving to a larger facility.
6. Dealing with Stress and Self-Doubt
Young entrepreneurs must learn to deal with the uncertainty that comes with starting a company. You don’t have the security of a steady paycheck, so you feel pressure to perform. Even small mistakes can delay the profitability of your startup for months or years, so you might find yourself paralyzed by doubt. You might also feel frustrated if you fail to reach your goals.
Deal with stress and doubt by making incremental progress toward your goals. If you learn to view mistakes as learning experiences rather than as disasters, you can stay focused on achieving your dreams. Make sure you have written goals and to-do lists, so you always know what to do next and remind yourself why you are working so hard.
7. Finding customers
As part of your business plan, you should create a marketing strategy. When your business starts, however, you might discover that attracting and retaining customers is more challenging than you first thought. As a young entrepreneur, your resource limitations can work against you, because you can’t spread your message. When you do find prospective customers, they might show a reluctance to trust a new, unproven brand.
You attract customers by providing high-quality products and services along with excellent customer service. Use online tactics such as content and social media marketing and pay-per-click advertising to reach your niche without spending a lot of money.
As a young entrepreneur, you show courage and vision, but the challenges you will face could discourage you or cause you to quit. Prepare yourself to deal with age-related issues and persevere until you have the financial resources to launch your company. Stay enthusiastic, even in the face of criticism, and prepare mechanisms to relieve stress, preserve your relationships and overcome doubt.
You can use remote workers to save on payroll and overhead costs while leveraging digital marketing to reach your target market. If you decide now to patiently pursue your dream, you will have the confidence needed to build and enjoy a successful career as a business owner.
Jill Phillips is a freelance writer from Buffalo, NY. As an aspiring entrepreneur and tech enthusiast, Jill loves to share her insight on various topics. When she is not writing, Jill enjoys taking photos and hiking with her dog. Connect with Jill via Twitter @jillphlps