What would you do if you were a 20-year-old today that ultimately wanted to start his/her own business?
I heard this question asked on a podcast I was listening to last week, and I started to think about how I would answer it. My own personal experience is that at 20 I was in college, playing tennis and spending every other free moment building websites. Then at 22 I started Spunlogic with Raj and the rest if history.
While I generally think that the best time to start a company is always right now, here is the advice I’d give to a 20-year-old who wanted to one day start a company:
1. Figure out what you love doing more than anything. (You can do this in college if that’s where you are at 20.) Passion is not required, but it sure helps with your chances of success.
2. Get a sales job in that industry. Learn how to sell. You will always, always need this skill.
3. Work like a maniac. You’re 20, you have more time than you realize. Optimize your time so you can spend as much time learning your trade as possible.
4. Find yourself some personal mentors in that field. Learn everything you can from them.
5. Build your network. Meet everyone you can and cultivate those relationships. No matter what you do, a strong network will help you tremendously. Starting at 20 will give you a huge leg up. Here are six ways to be a great networker.
6. Keep your personal expenses as low as possible. Move in with mom (I did it), eat Ramen noodles, take cheap vacations, etc. Save as much money as possible. This will help you when you start your company by giving you cash to live on, and having a low burn rate of expenses.
7. If you follow this plan, by 22 you should be able to start your company. Do not wait until you feel like you’re ready. You will never be ready. Starting a company is not something that ever makes sense ;)