Becoming An Entrepreneur At Age 19 – There’s no board-certified test for becoming an entrepreneur. You don’t have to go to a certain school or have a certain type of experience. That’s what makes this path in life so great. Do you want to do it? Then do it.
People of all ages have started successful companies. Worrying about your age should be the last thing on your mind. It’s true that many businesses fail, but if you hold yourself back, you won’t take a swing at hitting a home run, either. So let’s get down to it.
You’re not too young
The world always needs new and innovative ideas. If you have a great idea, don’t let being young stop you from pursuing it. You could grow your business into something great, something that solves a need or brings people excitement. Even if it doesn’t grow as you imagined, you’ll gain invaluable experience along the way.
Being young is a great time to become an entrepreneur. You probably have fewer obligations in life right now. You have energy and drive. You might also have a great sense of creativity or imagination.
The world needs people like that. For example, did you know the founder of Mozilla Firefox, Blake Ross, created the company when he was 19? Today, the browser holds its own against offerings from giants like Google and Microsoft.
Or, take Mikaila Ulmer, founder of Me & The Bees lemonade. At age 4, she won a children’s business contest with her lemonade. Her parents encouraged her to keep working on her product, and by the time she was 11, she had an $11-million distribution deal with Whole Foods.
Now, if you aren’t quite 18 yet, you’ll have to think through some challenges. You may need the help of your family members to secure startup capital and talk with lenders. But if you have an itch to become an entrepreneur, it’s never too early to scratch it.
I actually fit into this first category myself. My brother and I started Kitchen Cabinet Kings while I was still in college. I was 21 at the time and spent my free hours working on the business and website when many of my friends were out partying.
During the few years after that, I worked full time at marketing firms while also growing the business. It was tough, but there was definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. Between the official launch in 2010 and today, the company grew to become a top online retailer of kitchen cabinets in the U.S.
You’re not too old
Sure, young whippersnappers can start businesses just fine with all their energy. But what if you’re older?
There are many advantages to starting a business later in life, and they all boil down to experience. In fact, recent research from Kellogg School of Management says that older entrepreneurs are more likely to start successful businesses than younger ones are.
The findings indicate that a 50-year-old is 2.2 times as likely to start a successful business than a 30-year-old. And between a 50-year-old and a 25-year-old, the multiple jumps to 2.8. Also, they found that the average age for CEOs of high-growth tech startups was 45 years old. That’s pretty cool, right?
Even if you haven’t started your own business before, chances are you’ve been working for someone else’s. You’ve been making connections. You’ve seen what makes a good team and what makes a bad one. Maybe you’ve had the chance to lead and inspire employees.
Also, while younger entrepreneurs may be burning the midnight oil, you know how to get things done in an efficient manner. You can respond to challenges because of your experience.
You don’t have to look too far to see examples of successful entrepreneurs who started businesses later in life. For example, Colonel Sanders started the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise when he was 62 years old. Before that, he had actually been fired from a number of jobs, including a position as a lawyer.
Another example is Bill Porter. When he was 54, he and Bernard Newcomb started an electronic brokerage product called Trade*Plus. After nine years, they went public as E*Trade. Today, E*Trade has 3.7 million customers.
What’s the key takeaway?
While research does show that older entrepreneurs are more likely to start successful businesses, that doesn’t mean younger ones can’t. In the grand scheme of things, many businesses don’t succeed long term. If you’re young and you have the drive to create a business, go for it. It will give you experience that you can’t get anywhere else.
On the other end of the spectrum, you already have your age working on your side. Skill, endurance and leadership qualities all come with experience. In the world of business, that matters. Drawing on your experience, you can develop solid strategies and see them through.
So, if you’re thinking about being an entrepreneur, the question you need to ask yourself is: “Is this something I really want to do?” If it is, then do it.