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3 realities of young entrepreneurship and how to succeed

A young, male entrepreneur wearing sunglasses poses while sitting in a sportscar.
The allure of fat wallets and fast cars is rarely a reality for most entrepreneurs. (Source: Getty)

From flashy cars to designer clothes and a jet-set lifestyle, entrepreneurship has been hyped by social media as glamorous.

That may be true for the 1 per cent but, for the rest, it’s worth understanding the harsh realities of starting a business while you’re young.

True entrepreneurs face challenges with excitement and look to persevere through the tough times, all with an eye on the prize.

Here are three tips to help you see your venture through to success.

Understand the importance of failure

Failure is one of the greatest lessons an entrepreneur can learn. While there are always examples of holes-in-one, most of us aren’t Happy Gilmore.

The reality is, success is most often built on a tall tower of previous defeats.

My approach has always been to embrace it rather than fear it because I know the lessons learned will always make the next project or campaign stronger.

After each project, I like to review and assess what went right, wrong and what I would do differently. That gives me the opportunity to acknowledge where things could have been done better and identify what new actions or approaches could be taken in the future.

Female business professional analysing packaging while sitting at table.
Learning from failures is crucial to creating success. (Getty Images)

One thing I don’t do is wallow over any failures.

The term I like to use loosely is ‘delusional optimism’. Not to the point where you ignore all issues. Just enough that you’re capable of accepting risk but have the optimism to know there are solutions to most problems.

Be comfortable with a lack of support

“What if it doesn’t work out?” That’s a question young entrepreneurs would know all too well.

When the odds are stacked against you, pessimism can be the difference between fully committing to your venture or not acting on what could be a great idea.

Everyone wants the support of family and friends, but you can’t always rely on that. You have to trust your instincts.

Long days and weekends can sometimes disappoint those closest to you. Accepting they will not agree with or understand your entrepreneurial vision is important.

Many struggle to not let it drain them.

When you don’t have the cash

Most young entrepreneurs don’t have deep pockets.

If you were a university-attending entrepreneur like me, you may find yourself in the same boat.

Bootstrapping business ventures actually may have a lot of benefits because they pressure you to think creatively and use the resources you have at your disposal.

Need an app built? Learn to code. Need a product built? Prototype it yourself. Need the marketing done? Learn your way around social media.

Young entrepreneurs also need to build discipline around spending unnecessarily. A night of take-away could potentially pay next month's website bill.

Even when your business starts generating decent revenue, building resilience to reinvest, rather than taking a bigger salary, could be vital. I’m not saying don’t enjoy yourself but be frugal.

The road to entrepreneurial freedom may not be paved with gold, but pay your dues and understand the lessons, because the beauty lies in the journey.

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